We joined with 32 other organisations to write to Chris Philps, the Immigration Minister, asking that we don’t avoid a ‘return to normal’ after the pandemic.
We called on the Home Office:
- To end the routine use of detention, to commit to continuing to reduce detention numbers even further from where they are now and to re-examine the role, if any, that detention plays in immigration enforcement.
- To commit to a shift to community-based solutions in place of the continued reliance on immigration detention.
- To bring an end to the procedures collectively known as ‘the hostile/compliant environment” in order to allow people to live in dignity and to comply with bail conditions imposed by the Home Office in lieu of immigration detention.
- To improve the understanding, identification and management of vulnerability in all levels and systems of the Home Office in order to ensure people are properly protected.
- To ensure that existing safeguards do not differentially disadvantage Foreign National Offenders, those held in prisons under immigration powers or any other group.
- To build partnerships and referral pathways to ensure that ongoing care and accommodation needs do not form a barrier to release from, or alternatives to, detention.
- To reduce the volume/frequency of reporting and to stop using reporting for the purpose of routine enforcement of compliance, and instead ensure that any engagement is ‘meaningful’ and provides an opportunity to identify safeguarding issues or vulnerabilities.
- To commit to addressing the cultural issues highlighted by the Windrush Lessons Learned Review – to move away from a culture of disbelief and a focus on enforcement, towards an approach which is rooted in humanity and prioritises protection.
- To commit to transparent and meaningful engagement with stakeholders, including involving stakeholders at an early stage and committing to responding to concerns raised in full.