April 2016 – Migrant Detention Times

April 2016 – Migrant Detention Times

Thank you for getting in touch about a detention time limit for migrants.

I agree with the Government’s position, which is that a time limit on immigration detention would not be appropriate. Let me assure you that Home Office published policy is centred on a presumption in favour of liberty, and depriving someone of their liberty is subject to careful consideration and scrutiny, with appropriate account taken of individual circumstances.

As I understand it, the introduction of an arbitrary time limit could lead to the release of foreign criminals and illegal immigrants even when their removal is imminent. Home Office guidance is clear that detention must be used sparingly and for the shortest period reasonably necessary to achieve its purpose. I am glad that published statistics show that, in the year to December 2015, over 90 per cent of individuals leaving detention had been detained for no longer than four months.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.