MPs have been asking questions in Parliament about the separation of children from their parents through immigration detention.
On 10 July 2018, Mary Creagh (Labour) asked the Immigration Minister how many children have been separated from their parents while under immigration detention in each year for which information is available. Caroline Nokes replied, saying that "providing the information requested would require a manual check of individual records which could only be done at disproportionate cost."
In a session of parliamentary questions for the Home Office on 16 July 2018, Mary Creagh, Afzal Khan and Neil Gray questioned Caroline Nokes further about the Home office practices of separating parents from their children. Creagh called on the Minister for Immigration to "stop this unlawful practice, tell us how many children are affected and reunite them with their families".
Nokes failed to answer the question and responded that that “only 44 children went into detention in the last year”.
Neil Gray also questioned the Minister and cited BID’s work:
“Bail for immigration detainees has represented 155 parents separated from their children while in immigration detention whilst the PM states that this is not the government’s practice. Can she condemn the practice and finally stop it?”
Rather than condemning such practices, Nokes responded:
“There is clear and published guidance on how a family unit may be defined and concerning the separation of individuals from their family group for immigration reasons. Cases may involve pre-existing separation of family units for non-immigration reasons, for instance in the case of foreign criminals, children may have already been taken into care when the individual received a custodial sentence.”
Fact check: The Home Office does not only separate children from parents where there is pre-existing separation. However, irrespective of this, the fact that a parent has served a custodial sentence, which resulted in a temporary separation from their children, does not mean that it is in their child’s best interests to be separated indefinitely or permanently from their parent following the completion of their sentence.
Interested? To keep up-to-date with BID's policy and research work, sign up here to our mailing list.