Our personal freedom is something we hold dear. Yet for some people in the UK, freedom cannot be taken for granted. Anyone in the UK subject to immigration control can be detained by an immigration officer with no time limit.
The decision to detain doesn’t have to be authorised by a court. People can be locked up for months or even years, with no light at the end of the tunnel.
“Sometimes it’s like somebody’s suffocating me, like I can’t breathe.
Because every time I just look at walls, walls. I want to be able to do things, I want to move, I don’t just want to be locked up here without doing anything.
It’s like they are treating me as if I was a criminal, but I’m a normal human being.
I want to be free.”
Selina, speaking after three months in detention
BID exists to challenge immigration detention:
- We run a telephone helpline four mornings a week; our legal advisers and volunteer caseworkers give free advice and information about bail to detainees who call in.
- Our legal advisers visit immigration detention centres and prisons to run legal advice sessions and bail workshops. Read about one volunteer’s recent visit to Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre, in her own words
- Everyone who contacts us is provided with free self-help materials so that detainees have the tools to represent themselves in their bail application if they don’t have a lawyer.
- We take on some cases for representation. Priority cases include victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, people with serious mental or physical health problems, and people who have been detained for more than four months.
- We carry out research, gather evidence, and prepare policy briefings about immigration detention to influence policy-makers and raise awareness among the public.
- We are often asked to provide expert evidence to the higher courts on detention policy and practice.
- Our special projects help parents who have been separated from their children by detention, those at the end of prison sentences, and people facing deportation who can demonstrate strong roots in the UK.
"I never thought I would get help from anyone until I was introduced by my friend about BID."
“The bail grounds are exceptionally well presented. A few weeks ago I felt hopeless and wasn't even going to apply for bail, however I discovered BID by chance and it's nice to know I am not abandoned here as some people really care about liberty and human rights.”
"I really appreciate and thankful for BID’s help, without you I would never be out."