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Detention Centres: Children

Volume 502: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Ministers in his Department have signed authorisations for the continued detention of children at immigration removal centres beyond 28 days which provide for the detention of children during Christmas 2009. (304866)

[holding answer 10 December 2009]: No authorisations have been signed which allow for the continued detention of children beyond 28 days which provided for the detention of children during Christmas 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the UK Border Agency has made any arrangements in respect of children detained at immigration removal centres during Christmas 2009. (304867)

[holding answer 10 December 2009]: We would prefer not to detain families with children and would rather that they left the UK voluntarily where the Courts have upheld a decision of the UK Border Agency that they must leave the country. However, where they fail to leave after having been given every opportunity and incentive to do so, the Agency has no other option but to detain them to enforce their departure. We believe that it is in the children’s best interests to remain with their parents and they are therefore detained as a family group just a few days before their flight. However, detention is sometimes prolonged because of last minute applications to the Court as an attempt to frustrate their removal.