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IMMIGRATION BILL, END OF ROAD, SOME PROGRESS IN APPALLING BILL

May 12, 2016 9:02 PM
By suzanne

So the end of the road for all the work on the Immigration Bill, which will now become law. It has been a long haul, and extremely worrying how it will work out in practice. We are of course very pleased at how Tim Farron's original call for unaccompanied refugee children already in Europe is accepted, even if without the specified number.

The way that detention for immigration purposes is going to be dealt with is definitely on the agenda now, and some steps forward have been made. Not enough, but a beginning. Most significantly there will be judicial oversight after detention for 4 months, and a 72 hour limit on detention of pregnant women. It is best explained in the article below from Detention Forum.

In the meantime, we want to say thank you to all readers who have taken the trouble to lobby their MPs on these issues. It HAS made a difference, and brought about Government concessions.

But very importantly a HUGE thank you to our Liberal Democrat Parliamentarians, and their researchers, in both the House of Commons and House of Lords who have worked extremely hard and diligently to bring about the concessions and amendments. They have worked late and scrutinised everything phrase by phrase, and worked so well with those of other parties and none to make that difference to the most vulnerable, who do need us to stand up for them. There are too many speeches to quote for you, but it is all there in Hansard, and this is what was said on Tuesday in the final Lords session.

Detention Forum writes :

The Immigration Act, scheduled to receive Royal Assent in the coming days, will introduce automatic judicial oversight on the UK's use of immigration detention for the first time and a 72-hour time limit on the detention of pregnant women.

During the passage of the Immigration Bill which began in October last year, the Government listened to growing disquiet over immigration detention, raised by Parliamentarians and the general public.

Two detention-related amendments (judicial oversight and the detention of pregnant women) became the focus of the ping-pong in the very final stage of the Bill, which concluded on 10th May 2016 at the House of Lords. In the end, the Government's amendments were passed. You can read the transcript here.

These two detention policy changes are designed to offer increased safeguards against the impact of indefinite detention, although their mechanisms and effectiveness are unknown at the moment.

The judicial oversight amendment (Motion 84C of this document) creates a new legal obligation for the Home Office to initiate bail hearings for individuals who have bee