Immigrants: Detainees

Home Office written question – answered on 15th July 2015.

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Photo of Vicky Foxcroft Vicky Foxcroft Labour, Lewisham, Deptford

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will accept the recommendation in the Report of the Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees and on Immigration, published 3 March 2015, that the period for which immigrants can be detained should be lowered to 28 days.

Photo of Vicky Foxcroft Vicky Foxcroft Labour, Lewisham, Deptford

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Report of the Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees and on Immigration, published 3 March 2015, what alternatives to detention are under consideration by her Department.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration)

Detention is an important part of a firm and fair immigration system. Those who do not have a right to be in the UK should leave voluntarily, where they do not, we will seek to enforce their removal. It is not possible to detain indefinitely under immigration powers. Published statistics show the majority of people detained under immigration powers (63%) leave detention within 28 days, with the vast majority (93%) leaving detention within 4 months in 2014.

For detention to be lawful there must be a realistic prospect of removal in a reasonable timeframe. What amounts to a reasonable prospect of removal in a reasonable timeframe is a highly case specific consideration. An arbitrary fixed time limit may lead to the release of foreign national offenders even when deportation is imminent. Home Office published policy states that immigration detention must only be used as a last resort and that, wherever possible, alternatives to detention must be used. In practice, the majority of individuals liable to be detained at any one time are not detained but are managed in the community through the alternatives of temporary admission or bail, including the use of appropriate reporting and residence conditions or electronic monitoring.

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