Thank you to everyone who has contacted me recently about immigration detention. I believe we must end indefinite detention and that it should be limited 28 days.
The Government has said it does not have a policy of indefinite detention and has emphasised that 95% of individuals who are subject to immigration removal are managed in the community. However, statistics show that 4% (1048) of the individuals who left the immigration detention estate in 2018 were detained for more than six months. Two hundred were detained for more than twelve months.
While I appreciate that detention is a necessary part of our immigration system, I believe we urgently need to move towards a position where only the minimum number of persons are detained and for as short a time as possible.
The Home Affairs Select Committee recently published a report on immigration detention, which I consider to be a damning indictment of our current system. The report called for a 28-day limit and noted that the UK is the only country in the EU without a time limit.
I intend to support amendments to the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill which would set a 28-day time limit. I also believe that when someone is deprived of their liberty – as in the case of immigration detention – there should be independent judicial oversight at every stage.
My Labour colleagues and I will follow this matter closely and will continue to press for a 28-day limit.