Report (1st Day)

Part of Immigration Bill – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 1st April 2014.

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Photo of Lord Ramsbotham Lord Ramsbotham Crossbench 3:45 pm, 1st April 2014

I support the amendments in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Judd, and refer to my experience as a member of the advisory panel formed by the Government when they first considered the detention of children, particularly the detention of children who were going to be removed. We advised that it should be handled by a separate returns panel, which has since been established.

During those deliberations, we had several other concerns about a word that the noble Lord used in his address—namely, “safeguarding”. In addition to the safeguarding of children who are involved either in detention or in the removal process, there is a very large problem of unaccompanied minors applying for immigration or asylum who are distributed throughout the United Kingdom in order not to overload the social services immediately adjacent to ports or airports of entry. We felt that there was an urgent need for the handling of children, whenever they appeared in the immigration system, to be looked at particularly from the point of view of safeguarding. I am not aware that that has happened. I urge the Minister to give this his urgent consideration. Many of the things that have been said today arise out of the need to look at the treatment of children overall.