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Read our joint letter to the Home Office

Earlier this summer, we signed a joint letter to the Home Office with 32 charities and NGOs who advocate for people going through immigration detention to raise our concerns about the ‘return to normal’ we observed as national lockdown measures began to be eased.

Read the full letter here

As in many other areas, Covid-19 has led to a number of practical changes to the Home Office’s day-to-day operations. We have welcomed many of these changes, in particular the reduction in the number of people in detention. We hope that the current situation can be used as an opportunity to rethink the size and scale of the UK’s detention estate and further reduce the number held in detention.

However, the challenges of Covid-19 have also highlighted some of the structural issues that charities and NGOs have repeatedly raised concerns about, including:

  • Weaknesses in pre-detention screening for vulnerability
  • Failure of the Adults at Risk policy intended to identify and protect vulnerable individuals in detention.
  • Barriers to the release of vulnerable people in detention due to a failure to source suitable accommodation or care in the community.

Among other suggestions we used this letter to call upon the Home Office to:

  • End the routine use of detention and re-examine the role of detention in immigration enforcement.
  • Commit to reducing detention numbers even further.
  • Commit to a shift to community-based solutions.
  • Better protect vulnerable people affected by all systems of the Home Office by improving the understanding, identification and management of vulnerability.
  • Ensure that existing safeguards do not act to the disadvantage of people held in prisons under immigration detention.
  • End the procedures collectively known as ‘the hostile environment’.
  • Commit to addressing the cultural issues highlighted by the Windrush Lessons Learned Review – to move towards an approach which is rooted in humanity and prioritises protection.

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