Home Office rejects call for a time limit on immigration detention

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The UK government has rejected a call for a time limit for immigration detention. The policy was suggested by Human Rights Committee chair Harriet Harman as a way of reducing mental distress of those detained, while also reducing the cost of detainment.

Despite large cross-party support, the Home Office has rejected the proposed 28 day limit on immigration detention.

The Human Rights Committee believes that indefinite detention causes distress which can trigger anxiety and other mental health issues while also making existing mental health problems worse.

Th lack of a time limit on detention allows the Home Office to stall progress or even forget about certain cases. This not only impacts detainees, but it costs the taxpayer a great deal in cases where the detainee is kept for an extended period of time.

Chairman of the Human Rights Committee, Harriet Harman said: “Home Office immigration detention is arbitrary, unfair and breaches human rights.  Repeated detention and release, which characterises the system, shows that it must be reformed. Parliament will have the opportunity to consider changing the law to protect people from arbitrary detention when the Immigration Bill is brought back. I’m hopeful that with the strong cross party backing for the proposals from our committee and the Home Affairs Committee it will do so.”

The Human Rights Committee has also expressed great concern for the ‘good character‘ test. Such a test is applied to children of immigrants over the age of 10 even if they were born in the United Kingdom.

The Committee addressed this issue, saying: “In the Parliamentary debates on extending the good character requirement to children who were entitled to be British, much was made by Government Ministers of ‘heinous crimes’ of the most serious type—indeed the parliamentary debates focused only on those ‘heinous crimes’.

…However, the good character test applies also to cautions, minor offences and a whole host of activity (including non-criminal activity such as financial soundness, notoriety and immigration related issues)—it is not only focused on the most serious crimes.

Half of the children denied their “entitlement” to British nationality on good character grounds have not even received a criminal conviction (having merely received a police caution)—let alone been prosecuted for “heinous crimes””.

The British Government responded to this by claiming that the ‘good character’ test should apply to all ‘immigrants’ regardless of their age and that there is no distinction between those


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