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Child Immigrants

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children who had been detained for more than 28 days were being held at immigration detention centres on (a) 31 August, (b) 30 September and (c) 31 October. (101779)

Quarterly snapshots are published showing the number of people detained under Immigration Act powers on the last Saturday of each quarter. As at 30 September 2006, there were no persons recorded as being under 18, detained solely under Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 powers, who had been detained for more than 28 days.

The number of children detained with their families solely under Immigration Act powers will change from day to day. However, internal management information shows that, as at 31 August 2006 there were three minors, and as at 31 October there were three minors detained with their families under Immigration Act powers, who had been detained for more than 28 days. These individuals were all detained as part of families whose detention as a group was considered necessary. These figures do not constitute part of national statistics as they are based on management information. This information has not been quality assured under national statistics protocols and should be treated as provisional.

Minors are detained only in two limited circumstances: first, as part of a family group whose detention is considered appropriate; secondly, when unaccompanied, while alternative care arrangements are made and normally just overnight. Whilst the detention of families with children is very regrettable, it nevertheless remains necessary in appropriate cases in order to maintain an effective immigration control and to tackle abuses of the asylum system.

Information on the number of persons detained is published in the quarterly asylum bulletin, on the Home Office Research, development and statistics directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1 .html