Bishop Patrick Lynch, Chair of the Bishops' Conference Office for Migration Policy has welcomed a new report on the detention of migrants. In a statement, Bishops Lynch said: "I welcome the report and recommendations put forward by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees and Migration. Now, I sincerely hope that the findings will be translated into humane immigration policies for those who need protection and support from the state."
The report, from a cross-party group of MPs and Peers, has recommended that the next government should introduce a maximum time limit of 28 days on the length of time anyone can be detained in immigration detention. The panel, which included a former Cabinet Minister, a former Chief Inspector of Prisons, and a former law lord, considered evidence over eight months, and three panel members visited the Swedish Migration Board to discuss with officials and parliamentarians the role detention plays in the Swedish immigration system.
The panel concluded that the enforcement-focused culture of the Home Office means that official guidance, which states that detention should be used sparingly and for the shortest possible time, is not being followed, resulting in too many instances of unnecessary detention.
The panel recommend that the UK government should learn from best practice abroad where alternatives to detention are used, which not only allow individuals to live in the community, but which also allow the government to maintain immigration control at a much lower cost to the state.
The panel argues that depriving an individual of their liberty for the purposes of immigration detention should be an absolute last resort and only used to effect removal.
The UK is the only country in the European Union not to have an upper time limit on detention. The panel concluded that the lack of a time limit has significant mental health costs for detainees, as well as considerable financial costs to the taxpayer.
For more information and to read the report see: ICN 3 March 2015 - Time for a Time Limit - Parliamentarians call for 28 day maximum time limit on immigration detention www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=26871