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Immigration: Children

Volume 688: debated on Tuesday 23 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many children were detainees in immigration removal centres in each year since these centres were established. [HL948]

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. Information is available on the number of persons recorded as being under 18 detained on the last Saturday of each quarter since December 2003. All the figures exclude persons detained in short-term holding facilities, police cells and Prison Service establishments. All figures have been 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 minors detained is published in the Quarterly Asylum Bulletin, on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at