The Home Affairs Select Committee have released a highly critical report into the detention of immigrants as managed by the Home Office. They state that the government department has a ‘reckless’ attitude towards the detainment of immigrants and that this has led to people being wrongfully detained.
The report found that there are issues with almost every part of the detention process and that the Home Office is seriously failing in its obligations when it comes to protecting immigrants who have come to the UK in search of a better life.
Chair of the committee Yvette Cooper has called for urgent reform of the immigration detention process. In particular, she calls for an end to indefinite detention and the introduction of a 28-day detention limit. The report found that there was a general lack of humanity in the system, that failures often occurred within casework and that judicial safeguards were often not in place or were insufficient if they were. It was also found that the Home Office often used the fact that there were no legal limits as to how long they could detain someone to leave immigrants languishing in a detention centre, often with no sound legal reason for them to be there in the first place.
The report has also caused Sonya Sceats, the chief executive of Freedom from Torture, to speak out about the dangers of Home Office policy and the damage that it can cause to those who have fled persecution in their home countries. Sceats discussed the impact that detaining someone who has been a victim of torture can have on their recovery process and argued that detaining those who have suffered in this way is inhuman. She also pointed out research that shows that only 6% of those identified as vulnerable or at risk within the system are released, with others being left to fend for themselves.
The Home Office has released a statement claiming that they do not detain immigrants indefinitely and that where detainment does occur, it is only for a short period of time. They have also claimed that they are committed to reforming the system to ensure fairness and transparency for all.
Contributor: Richmond Chambers Immigration Barristers