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‘It’s Time to Think Again About Immigration Detention’

Categories: Articles:Asylum & Refugees | Published: 27/09/2016 | Views: 870
In early September, the new Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill announced the closure of Dungavel, the only detention centre in Scotland.  The centre will be replaced in late 2017 by a short-term holding facility at Glasgow Airport, where migrants will be held for a few days just before removal. (Jerome Phelps, Justice Gap,)

The deeply unpopular indefinite detention of migrants in Scottish detention centres will come to an end. If there have been few celebrations of the demise of Dungavel, it is because everything depends on what happens next.  In the worst case scenario, this could be seriously bad news for migrants in Scotland in the return process.  If detention business continues as usual, after being detained, they will simply be transferred after a few days to an English detention centre.  Since there is no centre north of Lincolnshire, they will be many hours away from friends and family.

But more importantly, they will be in a different legal system: they may need to abandon any pending legal challenges in the Scottish courts, leave their Scottish solicitors, and start looking for a new English solicitor.  Convenient for the Home Office in attempting to remove them, one might say.

Those of us who defend migrants’ rights tend to assume the worst of the government’s intentions, and there is unquestionably a serious risk that this scenario will come to pass.  However, the closure of Dungavel does not take place in isolation.  This is the third detention centre to close in the last 18 months, after Halsar and Dover.   Read more here
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