What follows is just a sample of the kinds of decisions that our clients are faced with on a daily basis. Yesterday’s incidents are not particularly unusual but might shock those not familiar with the travesty of immigration detention.
Just a few days ago Thomas Beamont wrote on this blog about the Court of Appeal’s decision in Mwesezi v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 1104 in which the court upheld a decision to deport a foreign criminal. An article by Iain Halliday on the Freemovement website. Please note this article is behind a pay-wall.
Asylum seekers unlawfully held in removal centres for months despite courts ruling they can be released, lawyers warn. Homeless asylum seekers left to 'languish' in removal centres despite being granted bail because Home Office claims detention is 'not dissimilar' to emergency accommodation.
On 23 May 2018 the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) published amendments to his removals policy (at Chapter 60 of his Enforcement Guidance and Instructions, titled ‘Judicial Review and injunctions’) in direct response to proceedings issued on 28th November 2017. The changes reflect concessions made in April this year by the SSHD in the course of these proceedings.
Rogue immigration solicitors exploiting vulnerable migrants by charging thousands for 'substandard' service. Desperate immigrants losing legitimate cases or given false hope about claims that are unwinnable.
Campaigners highlight ‘endemic’ problems in the UK’s detention system. Use of force against people in one of the UK’s largest immigration detention centres has soared by more than 160 per cent in two years, a watchdog report has revealed.
Today The Lawyer reveals the shortlist for The Lawyer Awards 2018, in association with Travelers, the legal industry’s biggest night of the year. Allen & Overy and Bail for Immigration Detainees have been shortlisted for the pro bono initiative of the year.
Serco CEO Rupert Soames, sporting a branded t-shirt adorned with the slogan “Serco and proud of it”, cut a robust figure at last month’s’ Home Affairs’ Committee inquiry into conditions at Yarl’s Wood and Morton Hall IRCs.
On Sunday, April 15th 2018, Sudanese, Rwandans, and other survivors of genocide and mass violence gathered at White City Tiger Turf for London Play2Remember, our annual five-a-side 'Survivor' football tournament to commemorate the dead and honour the living.
Wilsons FC took part in their third London Play2Remember tournament on Sunday, seeing off Team Grenfell, the United Nations Association of the UK (UNA-UK) and Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) to bring home the third place trophy, securing the title of what could be described as ‘the best of the rest.
The case of Paul Tate, reported on my the Guardian, exemplifies the Kafka-esque proportions that immigration detention decisions can take. An article by Fabien Cante featured on the Migrants' Rights Network website.
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID), a charity that assists those in immigration detention in the UK, is taking legal action against the British government in an attempt to pressure it into designating security company G4S as a ‘High Risk’ strategic supplier in the wake of ‘catastrophic failings’. An article by Rajesh Bhattacherjee featured on The Institute of Race Relations website.
Detention practices across Europe are steeped in contextual global and national politics. EU legislation stipulates that detention should be a ‘last resort’. Nevertheless, increased use of detention over the years in many European countries has been criticised as a systematic and administratively convenient way to detain and deport undocumented migrants.
The Home Affairs Committee of MPs has announced that it is broadening an existing enquiry into the treatment of migrants held at Brook House detention centre to look at the detention system more widely.
After the 2016 Brexit vote, the Guardian published a slew of articles about hard-working, white, tax-paying EU citizens threatened with deportation–yet nowhere mentioned Britain's existing deportation regime. Luke de Noronha asks what this says about race and class in Britain.
Immigration detention is once more in the news and was debated in Parliament this week, this time because of a hunger strike by women held at Yarls' Wood, the detention centre where abuse by guards was filmed undercover for Channel 4 in 2015.
Benny Hunter, Information and Communications Officer for AVID (Association for Visitors to Immigration Detainees), writes about the particular issues facing people who are detained indefinitely (under immigration powers) at the end of a prison sentence within the prison estate. He reminds us that “As we seek out detention reform, we must make sure that we leave no one behind.”
It's unclear what G4S would have to do before the Home Office started treating them with the scepticism they deserve. BBC's Panorama programme recently exposed a culture of abuse, violence and bullying in Brook House detention centre, which is run by G4S. But even that is just the latest in a long line of worrying revelations involving G4S' running of custodial facilities in the UK.
Large private outsourcing companies such as Serco and G4S are routinely contracted by the government to manage immigration detention centres around the UK, as well as deliver housing to asylum seekers and refugees. As some of these contracts come up for renewal, pressures are increasing not to renew engagement with companies that have failed to meet fundamental standards.
G4S has government contracts to run asylum housing and immigration detention centres, among a range of other things. There have been repeated calls from refugee charities to hold them to account for widespread allegations of mismanagement and abuse.
A lawful power to detain a person pending deportation was a precondition to the power to grant bail. Therefore the Special Immigration Appeal Commission had no jurisdiction to grant bail to a person who could no longer be lawfully detained because there was no reasonable prospect of deporting him and, consequently, had no power to continue to impose bail conditions on him.
Yesterday, Leigh Day solicitors acting on behalf of Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) launched formal legal action against the UK government in an attempt to force it to designate security company G4S a ‘High Risk’ strategic supplier in the wake of a number of catastrophic failings.
UK: legal action launched to ensure government holds G4S to account for serious maltreatment of detainees. News article and resources around the case featured on the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre website.
Formal legal action has today been launched against the UK government in an attempt to force it to designate security company G4S a ‘High Risk’ strategic supplier in the wake of a number of catastrophic failings.
The Home Office has lost a challenge in the Supreme Court to impose bail on immigration detainees whose detention in Immigration Removal Centres is found to be unlawful. Caterina Franchi has written a piece for The Justice Gap covering and explaining the ruling.
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) has begun a judicial review challenge aimed at G4S, the controversial private company that runs two of the UK’s immigration detention centres. The charity aims to have G4S officially branded a “High Risk” supplier by the government in an effort to hold the outsourcing giant to account over conditions at its facilities.
The number of EU citizens being detained at immigration removal centres across the UK has risen dramatically since the Conservatives came to power, according to official statistics. An article by Chris Green featured in the I.
Ever since the Brexit referendum in June 2016, European Union citizens in the UK have felt increasingly unwelcome. Harrassment is on the rise and the government itself has fed the hate. An article by Jörg Schindler featured in der Spiegel online.
New research published today by the charity Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) reveals that access to legal representation for those held in immigration detention is seriously lacking. BID’s research is the only data collected on the availability of legal advice and representation in immigration detention.
Detention is used as an administrative tool by the government – a convenience without proper consideration of less harmful alternatives, and certainly without can acknowledgement of the adverse impact that detention will have on a person’s mental health or their family. In the last year, 27,819 people were sent into immigration detention. Over half of them were released from detention back into the community – which meant that their detention has not served its stated purpose of being for removal or deportation.
Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee is holding an inquiry into the delivery of Brexit: Immigration. BID's submission focuses primarily on the enforcement issues related to immigration that are the major focus of BID’s work.
Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee is holding an inquiry into Immigration policy: principles for building consensus. We note the general questions that are posed by the Committee, but would emphasise that any debate around immigration must pay heed to enforcement issues. As we explain, the impact of enforcement measures on British people – as well as migrants – is already extensive, and enforcement cannot be separated from the economic and social issues connected with immigration.
A piece written byGeorge Collecot, one of BID's volunteers and LLB Law student at King's College London about his experiences assisting detainees at BID's workshops in Morton Hall and The Verne Immigration Removal Centres featured in the July issue of our e-newsletter.
The European Commission is investigating whether the United Kingdom has violated EU rules that permit EU citizens to move freely through the bloc, following a 20 percent increase in the number of European citizens deported from the United Kingdom in the past year, New Europe reported Nov. 2.
Unnoticed by most of the population, the UK has developed a cruel and unjust immigration system, which is ensnaring growing numbers of Europeans. BID's director, Celia Clarke on a scheme which should shame us all.
Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee held an inquiry following the Panorama programme on Brook House Immigration Removal Centre. BID provided a written submission highlighting key concerns about immigration detention generally.
An investigation has been launched into the death of a 38-year-old immigration detainee after the Home office confirmed that a Jamaican man died on Tuesday while he was being held at Morton Hall immigration removal center in Lincoln. It is the third such death in less than a month and human rights campaigners have expressed alarm at the incident. The prisons and probation ombudsman has begun an investigation.
An investigation has been launched into the death of a 38-year-old immigration detainee after the Home office confirmed that a Jamaican man died on Tuesday while he was being held at Morton Hall immigration removal centre in Lincoln. It is the third such death in less than a month and human rights campaigners have expressed alarm at the incident. The prisons and probation ombudsman has begun an investigation.
The increasing number of embarrassing reports of Home Office blunders potentially or actually resulting in the detention and deportation of legally resident EU citizens has resulted in an EU investigation.
Goldsmith Chambers in support of Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) is proud to present a training course, ‘Applying for Immigration Bail and Challenging Unlawful Detention’, on Monday 18 September 2017 6.00pm-8pm.
Senior executives from G4S were blasted by MPs for not having ‘a grip’ on the crisis at Brook House as exposed by a recent Panorama as they gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee last week as part of its inquiry into the immigration detention centre.
Earlier this year the Justice Alliance hosted a roundtable discussion with access to justice warriors, thinkers and doers to talk about why we need legal aid now more than ever. Report by Will Bordell and photos by Jess Hurd.
In the shadow of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the terrorist attack in Finsbury Park, a significant judgment from the Supreme Court was promulgated, largely unnoticed. And yet its repercussions are significant for foreign national ex-offenders facing deportation from this country.
Migrant rights, race relations, and community groups have signed an open letter calling for full immigration amnesty to all survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire who do not have regularised immigration status.
A blog post by Ben Amunwa, looking at the landmark UK Supreme Court decision in R (on the application of Kiarie and Byndloss) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 42 on out-of-country rights of appeal.
Coram Children's Legal Centre has welcomed the Supreme Court's judgment in R (on the application of Kiarie) v Secretary of State for the Home Department; R (on the application of Byndloss) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 42. It has urged the Government to review its policy of deportation prior to appeal and insure that all individuals have an opportunity for a fair hearing in immigration proceedings.
The Supreme Court has allowed two test case judicial review claims by foreign nationals facing deportation, quashing the Secretary of State’s ‘remove-first’ certificates, whose effect would have been to leave them to appeal from overseas.
R (on the application of Kiarie) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent); R (on the application of Byndloss) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent)  UKSC 4.
Every year, the British government detains hundreds of immigrants in prison, denying them even the most basic support to access the justice system. These people are just a fraction of the tens of thousands of immigrants detained across the U.K. in detention centers but for immigrants in prison, their numbers are never officially recorded.
Hundreds of foreign nationals in the UK are being denied access to immigration advice according to new research from the charity Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID). In their new report, Mind the Gap: Immigration Advice for Detainees in Prisons, BID has found that just 1 in 20 people held under immigration powers in prison have received independent advice on their immigration case. More than 10% of immigration detainees in the UK – some 500 at any one time – are held in prisons rather than Immigration Removal Centres.
Christmas in the UK is traditionally a time of year for celebration, parties, spending time with close family and friends, and exchanging gifts. But for thousands of people held in immigration detention in a prison or detention centre, it will be just another day. A day like any other spent locked up, waiting for a release that never seems to come. There is no time limit on immigration detention in the UK.
Free Movement has reported twice on immigration removal centres (IRCs) blocking access to websites informing detainees of their legal rights. HM Chief Inspector of Prisons criticised Haslar IRC two years ago for having the websites of Bail for Immigration Detainees and Amnesty International blocked.
Nearly half of immigration detainees do not have legal representation, according to latest research from an independent charity, which says the figure is ‘at odds’ with the British value of the rule of law.
Thousands of migrants held in Britain’s detention centers currently have no legal representation. Many have been incarcerated for more than a year solely because of their immigration status, a new report reveals.
Half of immigrants held in Britain's detention centers do not have legal representation due to cuts in legal aid, according to a report that criticized the U.K.'s treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees.
Parliament has passed a new immigration detention policy. And it has done so without proper debate on the issue. But instead of protecting vulnerable adults as was demanded, the new policy may put them in more harm.
More than 30,000 people are held under immigration powers in the UK each year without time limit. Indefinite detention is damaging to mental health, and Home Office policy stipulates that vulnerable people should not be detained. However, many are, and in the last few years there have been five court findings of “inhuman and degrading” treatment of detainees.
BID’s Assistant Director Pierre Makhlouf reflects on a recent high court decision finding that aspects of the Government’s approach to providing bail accommodation for immigration detainees are unlawful:
BID is deeply concerned by the government’s announcement – on the last day before the parliamentary recess – that Cedars pre-departure accommodation is to be closed and that families facing removal from the UK will instead be held at new accommodation at Tinsley House Removal Centre.
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) is delighted to have reached their initial ‘all or nothing’ fundraising target. Their stretch target is £25,000 so that we can reach another 100 people with our Separated Families’ Project and so please continue to support this important campaign.
BID (Bail for Immigration Detainees) is an independent charity that exists to challenge immigration detention. Last year, they helped reunite 110 families torn apart by immigration detention by providing vital legal advice to parents in detention, supporting them to apply for bail and to challenge their deportation.
Each year, BID helps reunite around 100 families who have been torn apart by the horrors of immigration detention. Every year, the government detains over 30,000 people for immigration purposes, routinely separating mothers and fathers from their children. Losing a parent to detention – never knowing how long they will be gone for – is devastating for a child. That’s why BID has a special team dedicated to providing parents who have been detained away from their children with legal advice and representation to help them apply for bail and to challenge their deportation.
Immigration detention is the only form of detention in the UK without limits. The government doesn’t have to get a judge’s permission to detain someone. There is no time limit on detention. People can be detained for six months, a year, two years or even longer. Last year 32,446 people subject to immigration control in the UK were detained by the government.
Today (Monday 13th June), Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) has launched a Crowd Justice campaign aimed at securing funding for their vital Separated Families project. Details can be found at https://www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/bid/
Last year 32,446 people subject to immigration control in the UK were detained by the government. Some had entered the country irregularly and were quickly removed. Others were detained pending removal or deportation. More than half of them were released back into the community, meaning that their detention had served no purpose.
Today (Wednesday 27th April, 2016), the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in the case of “O” vs the Secretary of State for the Home Department. The case considered issues relating to the detention of people with mental illnesses, and the management of their conditions while in detention. BID’s Assistant Director Pierre Makhlouf reflects on the case and what the judgment means:
Last night, the House of Lords agreed to an amendment that would, for the first time, introduce a time limit on the use of immigration detention in some circumstances. BID's Policy and Research Manager John Cox speaks about what this move might mean for people in detention:
As many as 1 in 4 people held in immigration detention have never had legal representation during their detention, according to research published today [Tuesday 15th March]by Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID).
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) reported today that it has succeeded in persuading the Home Office to reverse its decision to redact particular parts of its Country Returns Documentation Guide following an appeal brought by BID to the First-tier Tribunal.
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) has succeeded in persuading the HO to reverse its decision to redact particular parts of its Country Returns Documentation Guide. Having initially refused to release the full document in response to a Freedom of Information request – a decision subsequently upheld by the Information Commissioner – the matter was resolved on the first day of the hearing of an appeal brought by BID to the First-tier Tribunal.
The High Court has ruled that the immigration detention of two families was unlawful. The judge found that the detention of the families of Reetha Suppiah and Sakinat Bello breached articles 5 and 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 – the right to liberty and the right to family life. The court also found that detention is capable of causing significant and long-lasting harm to children, and that there is a considerable body of evidence of the policy not being properly applied.
The Court of Appeal last week ruled that although detention in an immigration removal centre [IRC] was ‘generally more appropriate’ for detainees than prison, the practice was lawful and not in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), article 5 which safeguards the right to liberty and security.
Dover Immigration Removal Centre has served as home to many of its inhabitants for months or even years. It has received damning reportsdue to its prison-like conditions and long periods of detention. On 15thOctober the Home Office finally announced that it would shut. This announcement came without reasons or warning for either the migrants or those who stand to lose their jobs due to the closure.
As many as half of all detainees may not have access to legal representation, according to BID’s latest legal advice survey. The tenth edition of BID’s six-monthly survey, carried out in May this year, spoke to 136 people currently detained under Immigration Act powers. Of them, 50% didn’t currently have a legal representative.
A new Detention Services Order 04/2016 about internet access for detainees has just been published. This is the first time the Home Office has set central guidelines on internet access for immigration detainees. The Order makes clear that all detainee internet usage is monitored and centrally recorded.
“They rob you of your dignity and treat you like criminals, and they can storm into your room without any caution or notice,” said a former detainee regarding the treatment that security guards mete out at the Yarl’s Wood Immigration and Removal Centre in Bedfordshire, UK.
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) welcomes Yvette Cooper’s announcement that the Labour Party would introduce a time limit on immigration detention. We agree with Yvette Cooper that detention “can be deeply scarring”.
In an article from the refugee voices special issue of Index on Censorship Magazine, Jason DaPonte looks at how migrants are using technology to keep in touch with distant relatives, and the security risks this can bring.
Women in Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre have become increasingly desperate as repeated rounds of legal aid cuts introduced by the UK Government have made it more difficult for them to access justice.
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) welcomes the publication of the report of the Joint Inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Refugees and Migration into the use of immigration detention in the UK. This wide-ranging, careful, timely, and compassionate inquiry rightly took as its starting point the powerful testimony of those who have lost their liberty through administrative detention in the immigration removal centres and prisons of the UK.
1st December was the final deadline for evidence to the Justice Committee's inquiry on the April 2013 legal aid cuts. The committee are now writing up their report, which will be published in the new year. BID's response sets out fresh evidence on the impact of the legal aid cuts on detainees. As we explain, very many detainees cannot pay for legal representation, and lack the legal knowledge to properly prepare their own cases.
BID’s Christmas 2014 appeal, ‘Free for Christmas’, highlighted the work done by BID’s legal managers, our trained and accredited volunteer legal caseworkers, and the barristers who generously give their time to work pro bono to seek the release of parents separated by immigration detention from their children.
Every day in Britain children are separated from their parents. For these particular children, it’s not because their parents have abused or neglected them, but because their parents are subject to immigration control and the government has decided to detain them while they try to remove or deport them from the UK. Despite the fact that the Home Office has a statutory duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, decisions are regularly made to place parents in immigration detention.
'I still find it shocking that parents are taken away from their children for immigration detention purposes when it is clearly in the best interests of the child to be looked after by their mum or dad.’ - Elli
The holding of asylum-seekers in conditions more like prison, with no obvious end to their detention, is causing stress and insecurity, an official Church of England submission has told the Government.
On 6th November BID provided oral evidence to the APPG on Refugees and APPG on Migration parliamentary inquiry into the use of immigration detention in the UK. BID's Dr Adeline Trude gave evidence to the panel on current difficulties faced by detainees in IRCs and prisons in getting access to immigration legal advice throughut their time in detention, the harsh conditions and barriers to communication with courts and lawyers experienced by the hundreds of detainees who are held in the prison estate outside statutory guidance and safeguards, and the delays of weeks or months in provison by the Home Office of Section 4(1)(c) bail addresses which stop detainees seeking release on bail.
More children should be detained and guards should have the option of using force against them. That's the extraordinary conclusion of the Independent Family Returns Panel, chaired by former director of Education and Children's Services Chris Spencer. An article featured on politics.co.uk.
On 9/10/14, the Independent Family Returns Panel published their Annual Report for 2012-14 - download this here. The panel advises the Home Office on the immigration detention of children and forcible removal of families from the UK.
Holding immigrant detainees in prisons beyond their sentence was ‘fundamentally flawed’, according to a damning report by Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID). Whilst both prison and immigration removal centres meant a loss of liberty, prisons posed far greater difficulties for immigration detainees already in a relatively powerless position, the group argued.
Too often for foreign national prisoners in Britain, the completion of a prison sentence is followed by a period of limbo behind a new set of bars while the state works out what to do next. Labelled 'undeserving', they are largely invisible.
A suitable bail address is an essential requirement for immigration detainees applying to the First-tier Tribunal for release on bail. Any detainee, whether or not they have made an asylum claim, is free to apply to the Home Office for a bail address under Section 4(1)(c) of the Immigration & Asylum Act 1999 if they have no address to go to on release with family or friends. Without a bail address detainees cannot normally lodge an application for release on bail and must simply wait in detention until the Home Office grants them a bail address. Yet too many detainees struggle for weeks or months to obtain a Section 4 bail address from the Home Office, especially those with a criminal conviction.
The UN Human Rights Committee is currently assessing the UK’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. BID has produced a briefing for the committee outlining our key concerns, including: unlawful detention; the erosion of detainees' access to legal aid and judicial review and the separation of families by immigration detention.
The latest unannounced official HMIP report on Haslar immigration detention centre reveals that the centre staff had blocked the websites for Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) and Amnesty International.
The Free Movement blog quotes a recent unannounced official HMIP report on Haslar immigration detention centre which reveals that centre staff had blocked the websites for Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) and Amnesty International. According to the report’s authors. http://ecdn.org/?p=2385
Today, 1st July, the House of Commons Delegated Legislation Committee will debate the legal aid 'residence test.' Last week, BID sent a briefing to committee members highlighting the very damaging effect which the proposed residence test would have on immigration detainees.
On 4th June, a man detained under Immigration Act powers in a Dorset prison was found dead in his cell. The Independent reports that: 'Sources said the prison authorities “strongly” believed that he died of natural causes, but Dorset Police would only say his death had been “sudden” and that the matter had now been referred to the coroner.'
This special feature reproduces a selection of the submissions to the Justice Committee in response to its call for written evidence into the impact of the changes to civil legal aid under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012.
On January 21st BID held its AGM on the topic 'Denial of justice: the hidden use of prisons for immigration detention'. Thanks to all our powerful speakers including Michael Fordham QC (Blackstone Chambers & Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law ), Colin Carroll of HM Inspectorate of Prisons, Henry (a former client of BID), Sarah Teather MP, and Hamish Arnott (partner at Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, a specialist human rights practice)
Wednesday 15 January saw a packed Committee Room 12 in the Palace of Westminster as MAX (Movement Against Xenophobia) held a Parliamentary meeting to alert Lords to the insidious qualities of the Immigration Bill, coming their way from the Commons in the near future.
BID's legal casework now indicates that staff employed by Capita Business Services have ‘ownership’ of a cohort of detained cases. BID clients have received letters to that effect signed by ‘Capita Detained Casework Team, on behalf of the Home Office’, based at the Home Office National Removals Centre at Solihull.
BID has been granted permission to intervene before the Court of Appeal in the case of David Francis (C4/2013/2215B)(on appeal from the High Court of Justice, His Honour Judge McKenna  EWHC 2115 (Admin).
Every six months for the last three years BID has carried out a survey of legal representation across the UK detention estate. We ask detainees whether they have a solicitor at the time we speak to them, how they found that solicitor, whether they pay fees for advice or have legal aid, and what work their solicitor has done for them.
A matter of days after sweeping cuts to legal aid were introduced in April 2013, the Ministry of Justice published details of further proposed reforms to legal aid in the consultation document ‘Transforming Legal Aid’.
‘This organisation thinks that legal aid is an avocado,’ Michael Fordham QC told hundreds of lawyers and campaigners outside the Ministry of Justice on Tuesday night. ‘They think it’s soft,’ he said. ‘They think you can cut it whenever you want – and keep cutting it – and they think it doesn’t matter because nobody really needs an avocado.’ The prominent human rights barrister was speaking at a ‘Save UK Justice’ demo organised in less than a week by trainees from the Tottenham-based legal aid firm Wilsons Solicitors LLP to protest against the government’s latest attack on legal aid, reports Mary-Rachel McCabe.
Alarming numbers of parents are being separated from their children indefinitely in the UK for the purposes of immigration control. It is difficult to imagine any other situation where children could have such scant attention paid to their welfare, says Sarah Campbell.
The first UK study of its kind, published by BID today, examines the cases of 111 parents who were separated from 200 children by immigration detention. The UK Border Agency repeatedly failed to safeguard children when detaining their parents, with appalling consequences for the children concerned. The report ‘Fractured Childhoods: the separation of families by immigration detention’ can be downloaded a the bottom of this page.
Immigration detention dehumanises not only the detainee but also every person who deals with it. It is a poison that infects us all. The professionals who deal with detainees and their families develop coping mechanisms.
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has repeatedly failed to uphold its legal duty to safeguard children of immigrants during their parents' detention and separated 200 of them from their family, according to a new report.
Several lawyers and visitors have heard anecdotes of access to various legal websites being restricted, Bail for Immigration Detainees being perhaps the most controversial and outrageous, but the list of websites seems to vary from one detention centre to another and websites are added to and taken off the individual centre blacklists from time to time.
The NHS takeover of immigration detainees’ health care was perhaps the only positive news on 1 April, when the coalition’s ‘great benefits reform’ was inaugurated at the same time that most housing, debt, employment, social security and immigration advice and casework was removed from the scope of legal aid.
Recent reports of sexual abuse at Yarl’s Wood shine a small spotlight on the otherwise invisible world of immigration detention. They detail how guards preyed on isolated women, subjecting them to unwanted advances, using their positions of power to coerce them into sexual acts. Shocking yes. But sadly not much of a surprise to people who work with immigration detainees.
In our first report on bail decision making ('A Nice Judge on a Good Day: Immigration bail and the right to liberty ' (2010) available to download at end of page), we touched on the inability of the bail system to respond adequately to the needs of foreign national ex-prisoners.
There is a pressing need for accessible, high quality immigration advice in prisons and immigration removal centres (IRCs), a need which is recognised in official policy and specialist guidance, writes Adeline Trude and Gemma Lousley.
The Mental Health in Immigration Detention Project (MHIDP) is a policy initiative which aims to secure the humane and lawful treatment of immigration detainees. It is a joint project by the Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID) and Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID).
BID's Director, Celia Clarke, wrote to the Guardian recently to highlight ongoing attempts by the Home Secretary to erect barriers to foreign nationals exercising their Article 8 right to a private and family life.
BID responded in detail recently to HM Inspectorate of Prison's consultation on revised immigration detention inspection expectations. In addition to detailed comments against all changes to inspection expectations and a number of recommendations, BID also expressed concern about the new approach to inspection outlined by the Chief Inspector, Nick Hardwicke.
The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Bill, which received another bashing in the House of Lords this week, is not a particularly friendly piece of legislation if you happen to be a non-UK citizen.
The UK Border Agency invites the company that killed Jimmy Mubenga to manage housing for vulnerable asylum seekers. The government’s ‘preferred bidders’ for contracts to house vulnerable asylum seekers are Reliance Security and two multinational security companies — G4S and Serco — best known for immigration prisons, forcible deportations and failings in their duty of care to vulnerable people.
The decision of the European Court of Human Rights that Abu Qatada cannot, for now, be deported to Jordan because of the risk of a trial using evidence obtained by torture has nothing to do with the Human Rights Act. Unless the UK were to withdraw entirely from the European Convention on Human Rights, that decision would always have been reached with or without our own Human Rights Act.
BID and the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (ILPA) have submitted a detailed response to the request for comments on the latest bail guidance for immigration judges from the President of the First Tier Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber.
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) welcomes the recent Inspection Report released by John Vine, the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), detailing his findings and recommendations following an assessment of the UKBA’s efficacy and efficiency in managing and using its powers to deport Foreign National Prisoners (FNPs)
Today, 35 NGOs have written to the Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC), urging him to ‘apply scrutiny to the issue of unlawful detention’ in their forthcoming inquiry into asylum and migration. The letter was drafted by Bail for Immigration Detainees, Freedom from Torture and Detention Action after the idea was mooted at the Detention Forum quarterly meeting on 14th September.
Immigration legal advisors IAS (Immigration Advisory Service) announced on Monday 11th July 2011 that they have closed all their offices. IAS have been running some of the free legal advice clinics under the Detention Duty Advice scheme at Brook House IRC, Tinsley House IRC, and Lindholme IRC.
This post comes from Anna Morvern, an immigration lawyer at Law Centre (NI)who writes here in a personal capacity. Anna has worked with and for immigration detainees for a number of years, as Legal Officer at Bail for Immigration Detainees and as an activist with various groups, including the Refugee Action Group in Northern Ireland.
BID and The Children's Society have published a new report on detention of children, titled ‘Last resort or first resort? Immigration detention of children in the UK.' Please follow the links for the report and the executive summary.
The OutCry! partnership between The Children's Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees, that made such a vital contribution to campaigning for an end to the immigration detention of children, has come to a close. The funding for the partnership came to an end last month.
The High Court has ruled that the immigration detention of two families was unlawful. The judge found that the detention of the families of Reetha Suppiah and Sakinat Bello breached articles 5 and 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 – the right to liberty and the right to family life.
In a landmark judgment on child detention at Yarl’s Wood, Judge Wyn Williams found that the UK Border Agency failed to uphold its own rules and breached claimants’ rights to freedom, privacy and family life. The coalition government’s plans to continue detaining children until May now look to be in ruins.
The OutCry! campaign is delighted that Nick Clegg has set out a timetable to end the abhorrent practice of detaining children in removal centres. We particularly welcome the immediate closure of the family unit at Yarl's Wood. The government is to be commended for taking seriously the need to put children's welfare at the centre of the asylum process.
BID is delighted to have won the 2010 JUSTICE Human Rights Award. BID was nominated "for its tireless work on behalf of some of the most vulnerable, marginalised and maligned sections of our community - from providing assistance to over 2,000 people held in immigration detention to the key Supreme Court cases SK and WL".
BID and The Children's Society have issued a briefing paper outlining their concern about two of the methods of forcibly removing families that the UK Border Agency (UKBA) is trialing: limited notice of removal and accommodation centres. Dowload the full briefing, below.
BID and the Information Centre about Asylum and Refugees are working together on a survey on nationwide level of legal representation among detainees. Results are expected to be published in December 2010.
Undocumented migrant children in the UK stand at the crossroads of different and conflicting policy agendas. The unresolved tension between commitments to protect children's rights and to securing borders is shaping their everyday lives in Britain.
Adeline Trude from Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) and Francis Webber of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) will be leading a talk about understanding immigration bail and the asylum process Saturday 2 October. The talk will be held at the Gateshead Civic Centre at 11.30 (talk starts at 12.)
An important new report from Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID), A nice judge on a good day: immigration bail and the right to liberty, reveals the systemic failures within the Home Office and the legal system which consign detainees to oblivion for months or years.
The family wing of Yarl's Wood immigration centre is to be closed as part of government plans to end the detention of children awaiting deportation, Nick Clegg announced today. The move was hailed by the Liberal Democrats as a sign of their influence in the coalition although it was also mired in confusion.
Human rights organisation Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) has called for a major rethink of the immigration bail process. BID's latest research report ‘’A nice judge on a good day: immigration bail and the right to liberty’, launches tomorrow in Parliament at an event hosted by Simon Hughes MP and addressed by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC. The report examines the entire bail process, which for many detainees is their only opportunity to challenge their detention.
Ministers were facing accusations today that hundreds of children are being held unnecessarily in immigration detention centres as official figures revealed, for the first time, that 470 minors were being detained with their families.
Parents and children who have already suffered unbearable trauma endure even more from the British asylum system, says Natasha Walter. Here, one mother and one child tell us what happened to their families.
The Control of Immigration: Quarterly Statistical Summary (April-June 2009), released by the Home Office, contains for the first time more comprehensive figures about children held in immigration detention.
Bail for Immigration Detainees recently obtained statistics from the Ministry of Justice on the number of bail applications that are made at different hearing centres, and the outcomes of those hearings. There is quite a disparity in outcomes. For example, once withdrawn cases are set aside, the percentage of bail applicants granted at Taylor House in Central London was 39%, compared to 17% for Hatton Cross in West London, 23% at Newport and 16% at Glasgow.
Two of the leading agencies working with detained asylum seekers and migrants today call on the Home Office to suspend the roll-out of video-link hearings for detainees applying for bail from immigration removal centres.
Four Algerian men, each detained for between eleven and seventeen months whilst they awaited deportation, have been released following a landmark ruling which found that their detention was unlawful. This case has significance for those large numbers of detainees who continue to remain detained unnecessarily, and possibly unlawfully, for long periods.
Four Algerians who have been detained for between 14 and 18 months pending deportation - even though they want to return home - will invoke the ancient law of habeas corpus to seek their freedom in a high court test case next week.Their case, which will be heard next Monday, will shine a spotlight on detainees who are routinely subjected to much longer periods in custody than the controversial 42 days maximum ministers are seeking for suspects detained before charge.
The title of this post is a reference both to the excellent organisation, Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID to its friends) and to the underlying concept. BID helps immigration detainees make bail applications and works with the Free Representation Unit to get (mainly) barristers to do pro bono lists of bail cases at the major hearing centres, mainly Taylor House near Angel in London, York House near Heathrow and Newport, where Campsfield Detention Centre bail applications are heard.
On 15 September, an inquest found that yet another asylum seeker had taken his life in detention. Unusually, in such cases, in addition to a self-harm verdict, the jury also listed the numerous ways in which the system, supposed to care for vulnerable detainees, had failed to do so.
A wide-ranging review of all areas of legal aid is currently taking place. As part of this review, the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) has announced proposals to change how publicly-funded immigration and asylum legal advice is provided. The Legal Services Commission (LSC) is running a consultation on these proposals, which ends on 12 October.
Over fifty people, mainly asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), demonstrated outside the Home Office following the broadcast of a BBC radio documentary on the fate of asylum seekers who are deported back to the DRC.
Despite a 21-year-old asylum seeker being served with three removal notices and sustaining a broken hand during one attempted deportation to Congo-Brazzaville, he has, with the help of campaigners, now been given temporary admission to the UK and submitted a fresh asylum application based on new evidence.
Children in asylum seeking families can be detained indefinitely at any stage of their claim to remain in the UK. There are around 40 family places in detention centres (now called 'removal centres') but no routinely available statistics about the number of children detained, at what stage of their case, or for how long. In answer to a recent parliamentary question, the government revealed that there were 56 children in immigration detention on 2nd April 2003. These children are detained under the same criteria as single adults.
The Haslar Centre’s sole purpose is to hold asylum seekers pending their removal. It is a place of no return. Haslar, formerly a prison, became Haslar Removal Centre on 8 February 2002 and is run for the Immigration and Nationality Department by prison service staff.
The Home Office says it rarely, if ever, detains asylum seekers if they are pregnant or have infants. But many studies don't back up that claim, so Melanie McFadyean set out to investigate - and found yet another shameful chapter to add to the UK's record on refugees.
Hilton Matiza and Gerald Muketiwa must be wondering what the British government's condemnation of Robert Mugabe's regime for human rights abuses really means. It clearly doesn't mean that even when regimes are held up as tyrannical and brutal, Britain will provide a safe haven to people fleeing them. Matiza and Muketiwa left Zimbabwe after alleged brutality, torture and death threats, but they are facing deportation this week after their applications for asylum were refused.
The UK has been condemned by the United Nations for being the only country in Europe to detain asylum seekers in prison.Britain is holding 1,800 detainees under the UK Immigration Act, more than 1,000 of them in regular prisons.
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) is a registered Charity No. 1077187. Registered in England as a Limited Company No. 03803669. Accredited by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner Ref. No. N200100147.
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