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Immigration: Children

Volume 688: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many children were detained in immigration removal centres in each month of 2006. [HL949]

The exact information requested is not available; it would be available only by examination of individual case files, at disproportionate cost.

Quarterly snapshots are published showing the number of people detained under Immigration Act powers on the last Saturday of each quarter. The table attached shows the number of persons recorded as being under 18 as at the last Saturday of each quarter in 2006.

Minors(1) recorded as being held in detention in the United Kingdom solely under Immigration Act powers in immigration removal centres(2)(3)(4)

Detained as at

Number of minors

25 March 2006

15

24 June 2006

20

30 September 2006

20

(1) People in detention recorded as being under 18 as at the dates supplied. Figures are likely to overstate because applicants aged 18 or over may claim to be younger on arrival in the United Kingdom.

(2) Excludes persons detained in short-term holding facilities, police cells and those in dual detention.

(3) Includes persons detained in Oakington Reception Centre.

(4) Figures rounded to the nearest five.

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. While 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 www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.