Examination of Witnesses

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 14th February 2019.

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Bella Sankey:

There are lots of other things—checks and provision—that I think are needed to improve the system and make it fit for purpose. A statutory time limit is absolutely essential. I think everyone who works on immigration detention, whether they are caseworkers, researchers, non-governmental organisations, academics or the lawyers involved, would agree that a statutory time limit is the absolute priority and actually is long overdue.

In addition, we need to restore legal aid, so that people’s substantive immigration cases can be properly considered and we are not at risk of continuing to deport people unlawfully, as it has now been accepted we did with the Windrush generation. That is still going on every single day.

There are a whole host of ways in which our immigration rules more generally could be improved to better safeguard people’s human rights to ensure that families are not unnecessarily separated and that people are not re-traumatised by a system that is often so disbelieving, even when there are such clear signs of, for example, persecution and torture.