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Asylum Seekers

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many jailed asylum seekers from Somalia have been deported in each of the past six months. [113893]

Information on the nationality of people who have been deported or are removed is not available and can only be obtained by examining individual case files at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) asylum seekers and (b) children of asylum seekers are detained in the UK. [113895]

The latest available information on the number of asylum seekers in detention is for 28 December 2002. At that date 795 people held in detention solely under Immigration Act powers were recorded as having sought asylum at some stage.Although statistics on the detention of asylum seekers include minors they have not hither too been separately identified. Work is being undertaken to extend the range of data routinely collected on the detention of asylum seekers.

Dungavel, Harmondsworth, Oakington and Tinsley House are the only Immigration Service Removal Centres that have accommodation for families with children.

A one-off exercise was carried out on 2 April 2003 to assess the number of children under the age of 18 detained with their families in these centres, the results of which are contained in the table.

Immigration Service Removal Centre

Children under 18 years of age in detention at 2 April 2003

Dungavel21
Harmondsworth18
Oakington14
Tinsley3
Total56

Minors are detained only in two limited circumstances: first, as part of a family group whose detention is considered appropriate; second, when unaccompanied, while alternative care arrangements are made and normally just overnight.

More detailed information on those in detention at March 29 2003 is due to be published in May on the Home Office website: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/whatsnew1.html.