Detention is traumatic. It is also unnecessary, expensive and inefficient. This Thursday there will be a parliamentary debate on immigration detention. Make sure your MP attend the meeting by writing to them today here!
Immigration detention has been regularly in the media spotlight in recent months. The BBC Panorama documentary into Brook House Immigration Removal Centre, broadcast in September, led the Home Affairs Select Committee to hold an inquiry. The Panorama revelations were quickly followed by deaths of migrants in detention. On 7 September, a 28-year old Polish man died as a result of a suicide attempt in Colnbrook detention centre. On 19 September, a Chinese national died in Dungavel detention centre in Scotland. And on 3 October, a Jamaican man died in Morton Hall detention centre.
The purpose of the meeting this week is to provide space for MPs and peers to discuss what further steps can be taken to make progress towards fundamental detention reform. Calls for a time limit and detention reform have gained increasing momentum over the last few years, starting with the inquiry of the APPGs on Refugees and Migration into the use of immigration detention (2015). Subsequently, the first Shaw Review in 2016 and debates during the passage of the Immigration Act 2016 led the Government to make various promises and concessions, few of which have yet been implemented. At present, Stephen Shaw is holding a follow-up review to assess progress. Yet despite substantial public and political pressure and a ministerial commitment to reform, migrants held in immigration detention have seen little tangible change.
The latest statistics shows that the UK continues to routinely detain large numbers of migrants for lengthy periods, including vulnerable people. In the last year, nearly 28,000 migrants entered the detention estate; more than one in three were detained longer than 28 days. In the last quarter, 52% of migrants who left detention were released into to the community, not removed. As at 30 June 2017, the longest length of time a person had been detained was 1,514 days, in excess of four years.
During the meeting, parliamentarians will also have the opportunity to be briefed on recent developments in immigration detention, the follow-up Shaw Review and findings from recent and forthcoming research reports. Speakers will include Women for Refugee Women, Freed Voices (a group of migrants who have collectively lost over 20 years to immigration detention), Detention Action and Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group. Paul Blomfield MP will be chairing the meeting.
APPG on Refugees meeting on immigration detention
Thursday 16 November 2017
10:30 – 11:30 The Grimond Room in Portcullis House