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Labour Party has won today's General Election, and they have the majority. We would like to congratulate the new government on its seismic victory! This is a momentous opportunity to overhaul the failing immigration detention system and the dysfunctional asylum process. The British people have spoken, demanding change, and we at AVID (Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees) are ready to work with the government to ensure that this change is radical and transformative.

The People Have Spoken: Voices from Our Parallel Poll

While the nation voted, we asked our supporters two crucial questions:

  1. Can individuals make a difference in the fight against immigration detention?
  • Yes, every action counts: 87%
  • No, it's up to the politicians: 13%
  • Maybe, but not sure how: 0%
  1. Should the UK prioritise the alternatives to detention?
  • Yes: 91%
  • No: 0%
  • More curious about alternatives: 9%

The results of our poll clearly demonstrate the strong belief among our supporters that individual actions are powerful and impactful in the fight against immigration detention. A significant 87% affirmed that every action counts, highlighting widespread commitment to grassroots activism and personal responsibility. Only 13% felt that change is solely in the hands of politicians, indicating a general trust in the power of collective action.

Similarly, an overwhelming 91% believe that the UK should prioritise alternatives to detention. This strong consensus reflects a growing recognition of the inhumanity and ineffectiveness of the current detention system.

What Must Happen Now?

STOP Detention Expansion

Cease the expansion of detention centers and redirect resources to humane, community-based alternatives that respect human dignity and are proven to be more effective. This means stopping the current work to reopen detention centers such as Haslar(Gosport) and Campsfield House(Oxford) and the other increasing bed spaces in detention estates.

Seize the practice of detaining people in Prison

People deemed as ‘foreign’ nationals in prisons can continue to be held indefinitely under immigration powers after they have served their sentence. Effectively, after completing the same sentence as a British national, they are doubly punished. CPT has criticised this practice as " Fundamentally flawed." In order to ease the pressure on the already overcrowded prison estate in the UK - it is crucial that the new government should seize detaining people in prison.

Implement Community-Based Alternatives

Invest in community-based programs that support individuals while they await their immigration or asylum outcomes. These programs are more humane and cost-effective and lead to dignity and better integration.

Demand Transparency and Accountability

Ensure greater transparency within the detention system. Regular independent inspections, public reporting, and civil society involvement are crucial.

Strengthen Legal Safeguards

Guarantee access to legal advice and representation for all detainees. Protect their rights and ensure timely and fair reviews of detention.

Engage with Civil Society

We are eager to collaborate with the Labour government. Drawing on the expertise and insights of civil society organisations will ensure practical, compassionate, and just policies.

Change the Culture of the Home Office

The culture of the Home Office must be reformed to prioritise humanity, compassion, and fairness. This includes:

  • Training staff to understand the complexities and human aspects of immigration.
  • Encouraging a culture of accountability and transparency.
  • Ensuring policies and practices are informed by lived experiences of those affected by immigration detention.
  • Implementing a zero-tolerance policy for abuses and misconduct within the system.

End Immigration Detention NOW

It is time to end this inhumane practice once and for all. Detention serves no purpose other than to inflict suffering on vulnerable individuals. The Labour government must take immediate action to completely abolish immigration detention.

Gee Manoharan, Co-Director of Policy and Influencing, says: 

"I urge the Labour government to listen closely to those of us who have endured this system's failures. At the time of this writing, out of the hundreds detained under the performative Rwanda removal plan, at least two people remain in immigration detention, serving no purpose for the last two months. This is a serious failure. The British public has given you a powerful mandate for change. Use it wisely and courageously, because the eyes of the nation are watching. Implement the recommendations of the Brook House Inquiry and ensure that real, meaningful change happens now. The promise of change starts with you, and together, we can end the injustice of immigration detention."

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