It’s time to contact your MP to ask them to support two key Lords Amendments on detention.
The Immigration Bill continues to make its way through Parliament and on 25 April returns to the House of Commons where MPs will consider amendments made during its passage through the House of Lords. There are two key amendments regarding detention: Lords Amendment 84 and 85.
Lords Amendment 84 introduces a presumption that detention should in most cases last no more than 28 days. In order to detain someone for longer than this, the Home Secretary would have to gain permission from an immigration judge at the First Tier Tribunal.
It is disappointing that the amendment does not apply to people who the Home Secretary has determined will be deported, or to people who have been sentenced to prison for 12 months or longer. Nevertheless, it brings judicial oversight to the system for the first time, and while not introducing a time limit, it takes a step towards it.
Lords Amendment 85 introduces an absolute ban on the detention of pregnant women. Last week Theresa May introduced a time limit of 72 hours, but this does not go far enough, either in the view of Sir Stephen Shaw, who called for an absolute ban in his review of the welfare of vulnerable people in detention, or in the view of organisations supporting and advocating for women in detention.
Now is the time to contact your MP and ask them to support these amendments. You can find out who your MP is and how to contact them here.
When you contact them, tell them tell them why this issue is important to you, as their constituent. Have you experienced detention? Have you visited someone in detention? Are you at risk of detention? Is someone you know living in fear of being detained?
You can also tell them that the amendments do not go far enough. Tell them that you agree with the findings of the detention inquiry, that the current system is ‘expensive, inefficient and unjust’ and that you would like to see proposals that address the key recommendations of the inquiry: the introduction of a 28 day time limit on detention, and a move towards community based alternatives.
It’s still #Time4aTimeLimit