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:

The proposal is for a universal time limit that would apply to all. We think it is an important matter of principle that no one should be detained under immigration powers unless their removal is genuinely imminent. Again, that is nothing more than a reflection of current Home Office policy and guidance. We do not see any need to detain any group for longer than that.

People with previous convictions have served criminal sentences if they received a custodial sentence for their conviction. There is no need for a further detention—an additional punishment—for that group. It is also worth mentioning that many of the trafficking survivors and victims of modern-day slavery who we see in the immigration detention estate have convictions because they have been coerced into criminality. We think it is a false distinction to make between people with convictions and those without, because it really does not speak to the wider circumstances. In many cases, it is people with convictions who are actually the most vulnerable—people who have experienced torture and extreme forms of trauma.