LibLink | Tom Brake MP: Yes, we are bringing an end to the detention of child refugees

One of the Lib Dems’ key 2010 election manifesto pledges was that child detention in immigration centres would be ended. A year after Tom Brake MP welcomed this Lib Dem policy being adopted by the Coalition government, he has written for The Guardian to highlight how the policy is improving the lives of those young and innocent victims who were treated so disgracefully by the Labour government:

The current practices with regard to children awaiting deportation cannot be – and should not be – in any way compared to the shameful past. Children are no longer held for weeks, pending their removal from the country during and after their asylum or visa applications. Since current regulations were introduced, no child has been held under these circumstances. Only on the rare occasions when a family was denied entry at the border and there was no immediate return flight, have they been held in pre-departure accommodation until the next available flight, usually within 24 to 48 hours. …

During Labour’s final term in office, more than 7,000 children were detained, on average nearly 14 days each. In 2009, 173 children were locked up for over a month. Most were housed in the notorious family unit at Yarl’s Wood, which has now been closed down, as promised. By contrast, just two families with children stayed at Tinsley House removal centre last May, as Home Office figures show. One family stayed for two days awaiting their flight, the other left within a day.

You can read Tom’s article in full here.

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One Comment

  • If our pledge had been to limit child detention for immigration purposes to rare and infrequent events, in humane accomodation for a strictly limited period then we would have delivered.

    That’s what our pledge should have been. If after due legal process we are to return families to their country of origin and that family are refusing to co-operate with arrangements for their removal then there will on occasion be no option but a short period of detention. That isn’t a nice thing – but there is very little about the forced removal of a family to another country that is nice. However unless we say that this will never happen (and effectively create an open door for illegal immigration) then you need the means to acheive the ends.

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