Immigration: Detention

House of Lords written question – answered on 15th October 2008.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why the UK Border Agency recently announced plans to increase detention capacity by 60 per cent; and whether they will consult the Refugee Council and other relevant organisations in advance of any construction.

Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Security and Counter-terrorism)

The recent announcement by the Minister for Borders and Immigration to expand the capacity of the immigration removal centre estate is to ensure that we have sufficient space to detain immigration offenders in order to effect their removal from the UK.

The UK Border Agency now removes an immigration offender every eight minutes. This includes failed asylum seekers, overstayers and a record number of foreign prisoners. Challenging targets have been set to increase the rate of removals, backed up with a doubling of enforcement resources.

Detention is necessary to ensure that immigration offenders do not abscond while the final stages of their removal are being arranged. It can also be used to "fast track" new asylum claims by housing applicants in centres with dedicated teams of case workers. This allows their cases to be decided quickly, leading either to faster integration in the UK for successful applicants or faster removal for those whose claims are refused.

We have no plans to consult the Refugee Council or other relevant organisations about the construction of any new site. However, such bodies are represented on the detention users group (DUG) that meets quarterly with UK Border Agency officials. DUG members are informed of developments on matters relating to immigration detention and they are able to raise issues of concern with the UK Border Agency.

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John Catley
Posted on 16 Oct 2008 12:14 pm (Report this annotation)

Once again a very interesting answer by his Lordship.
Paragraph one:
"sufficient space to detain immigration OFFENDERS"
This is the only part of UK Law where a person is assumed guilty until they can (against all the odds) prove their innocence. How can a person be locked up as soon as they arrive here? They are branded as "Illegal" even if the scars of their torture are there for all to see.
Paragraph two gives the answer to this. "Challenging targets have been set to increase the rate of removals". In other words - we set the numbers, we will reach that target and to hell with the welfare of those being returned. If they wont return to their death willingly then we will beat them into submission.
Paragraph three is quite interesting too. Detention can be used for fast track! This gives the traumatised person very little time to find legal representation and gather documentary proof of their claims. If the detention centres have dedicated teams of case workers why is it that decisions are usually handed to the detainees after five o'clock on Friday so that for the first two days legal representatives can't be contacted?
This paragraph also states that this system leads to faster integration or removal. It would be nice to know the percentages of each!
The final paragraph tells it all! This administration will not consult anyone about their disgusting policies. There as an ever growing number of concerned individuals who are lobying for change. However the government is still taking its instructions from the Daily Mail