10 November 2014
As the Home Office plans to more than double the capacity of Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre in Oxfordshire, the Detention Forum is calling for a moratorium on the detention expansion.
We call on others to contact their MPs to put a stop to this ill-advised move by the Home Office.
(You will find our briefing paper and a sample letter to MP below.)
Over the last 12 months,UK immigration detention capacity has increased by 25%. Over 4,000 detention bed spaces are now available in eleven prison-like Immigration Removal Centres scattered across the country. An extra 800 detention bed spaces have already been created in 2014, and the government has just announced a plan to double the size of Campsfield House Immigration Removal Center in Oxfordshire.
This expansion of the detention estate is taking place away from public and political scrutiny. Detention is harmful and expensive. The UK’s practice of detention, and the lack of a time limit, has been repeatedly criticised by various national and international observers. There is an ongoing parliamentary inquiry into the use of immigration detention, which is yet to report its recommendations.
It is ill-advised for Immigration Minister to proceed with plans to expand Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre before the findings of the detention inquiry are announced next year. Locally, there is already strong cross-party opposition to the expansion plan, led by Nicola Blackwood, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon. One of the Detention Forum members, Campaign to Close Campsfield, is also working with other local groups to create strong local opposition and challenging the planning application.
We call for a moratorium on the detention expansion, urge the Immigration Minister to withdraw the Campsfield House planning application and ask the detention inquiry panel members and others to work towards providing parliamentary scrutiny of the Government’s detention expansion plan. The current system needs a radical reform, not expansion.