Ending Immigration Detention

Sadly – expanding the detention estate:

Updated 28 June 2022: Gov.uk: Blueprint for new IRC

Procurement process starts for IRC as part of New Plan for Immigration

The Home Office has announced initial plans for a new Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) in Oxfordshire.

Today (28 June 2022) the department has started the first stages of the procurement to operate a new IRC on the site of the former Campsfield House.

The new IRC, which will be a secure facility and will accommodate men only, will not be operational until at least late 2023. The Home Office will be engaging local authorities, the local MP, police and other partners as plans are developed.

Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/blueprint-for-new-immigration-removal-centre

18 May 2022: International Detention Coalition: Gaining Ground: Promising Practice to Reduce & End Immigration Detention

International Detention Coalition report: Gaining Ground May 2022
International Detention Coalition report: Gaining Ground May 2022

Immigration detention represents one of the most flagrant human rights violations of our time. In recent years, IDC has seen a number of governments begin to recognise that effective and feasible alternatives to detention (ATD) do exist. This paper was written to provide an overview of practical examples and recent developments in the field of alternatives to detention (ATD), in order to highlight promising practice and encourage further progress in this area. It aims to inspire and embolden governments, local authorities, international organisations, civil society and community actors and other stakeholders, with steps they can take to move away from the use of immigration detention. This report includes an Annex compiling short country profiles for the 47 countries included in the research mapping.

Conclusion and recommendations
Across the world, and often in the face of extremely restrictive and challenging political environments, efforts are ongoing on the part of a number of governments, local authorities, civil society actors and UN agencies to reduce and end the use of immigration detention.

The promising practices identified within this paper are illustrative of just some of the recent attempts to move towards migration governance systems that allow people to resolve their cases in the community, guaranteeing them access to their rights, agency, and the services they need.

The examples included here range from rights-based ATD initiatives and programmes to other developments in law, policy and practice that represent positive steps towards reducing and ultimately ending immigration detention. What they all have in common is that they contain some or all of the elements that IDC sees as necessary for States to gradually move away from detention as a tool of migration governance.

Despite some positive momentum, and notwithstanding the significant – and growing – body of international and regional standards that set out to end child detention and to limit the use of detention for people on the move, there is still a long way to go before non-detention and ATD become the ‘new normal.’ The upcoming International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) in May 2022 will give States the opportunity to gather for the first time to review progress on the guiding principles and commitments they made within the GCM. It presents an opportunity to harness momentum around ATD and to ensure that promising practice can be replicated and scaled up. It will also be critical that efforts continue well beyond the IMRF, and that they ultimately lead to concrete steps towards reducing and ending immigration detention.

It is only through such actions that migrants, refugees and other people on the move will truly be able to live with rights and dignity.

In particular, governments and States should work towards:
Setting up programmes that reduce and end people’s risk of immigration detention in the short and long terms
› Introduce long-term regularisation schemes that allow for people with irregular migration status to gain legal residence and access to rights and services.
› Put in place clear and accessible programmes that allow for the provision of formal status and documentation for people awaiting a decision on their migration case.
› Ensure that appropriate and adequately resourced screening, assessment and referral mechanisms are in place in order to allow for identification of vulnerabilities and to determine placement options.

Increasing the use of rights-based, community-based ATD for people at risk of detention
› Incorporate provisions around case management-based ATD into legislation and policy.
› Pilot and scale up case management-based and rights-based alternatives to detention that provide holistic, individualised support to people as they work to resolve their cases in the community. Where possible, partnerships should be established with civil society organisations and grassroots groups in order to ensure that case management provision is independent and reflects the needs of migrant communities.
› Ensure that adequate funding is available for non-custodial solutions, and prioritise these
approaches over immigration detention when it comes to resource allocation.

Putting in place alternative care arrangements for children
› Ensure that alternative care arrangements are in place for children on the move and that these programmes are provided with adequate funding and safeguards.
› Integrate migrant children into existing national child protection systems and ensure that children are able to remain with family and/ or guardians in non-custodial, community- based contexts while their immigration status is being resolved.
› End detention of all children, in legislation and in practice, in line with GCM and international human rights law commitments.

Ensuring that efforts to reduce and end immigration detention put engagement and human rights front and centre
› Avoid the use of de facto detention and alternative forms of detention – including electronic tagging – that still deprive people of their liberty.
› Ensure that efforts to reduce and end immigration detention respond to the diverse and intersecting identities of people on the move, including by ensuring that they are gender-sensitive and gender-responsive.
› Build the understanding and capacity of officials to apply appropriate protection tools and processes, including screening and vulnerability assessment tools.

Ensuring the collection and publication of ethical, credible data and sharing of practices
› Strengthen responsible and ethical collection of data on migrants, refugees and other people on the move – particularly when it comes to immigration detention – and ensure information sharing with relevant governmental and non-governmental actors while respecting privacy and firewalls.
› Conduct mapping in the country context to identify risk factors for immigration detention, as well as to identify strengths and gaps in existing practice which could support context-specific, rights-based ATD for migrants, refugees and other people on the move.
› Engage in peer learning initiatives, to draw learning and ideas from other countries and regions on promising practices to reduce and end immigration detention, including learning from countries that do not use immigration detention as a migration governance tool as the ultimate best practice.

Promoting whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches
› Work closely with civil society organisations, grassroots groups, local authorities and UN agencies in order to further whole-of-society approaches to reducing and ending immigration detention.
› Meaningfully engage with grassroots groups and leaders with lived experience in order to ensure that the views and voices of those with lived experience of immigration detention are put front and centre.
› Ensure coordination between government departments in order to put in place coherent, whole-of-government approaches to migration governance that respect the rights of migrants, refugees and other people on the move.

Ultimately ending the use of
immigration detention

› Incorporate provisions around non-detention into legislation and policy.
› End detention of all children and ensure that migrant children are integrated into mainstream child protection systems
› End the use of immigration detention as a tool of migration governance, and explore other options to ensure that people are able to resolve their cases in the community with access to their rights and to the support and services they require

Download Full Paper here: https://idcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Gaining-Ground-Report-2022.pdf