Government under fire for policy on babies

UKBA criticized for policy of dispersing families with babies across country

16th November 2010: The Immigration Law Practitioners Association has come down heavily on the Government for its policy on young babies.

It has, in fact, criticized the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) for its policy of dispersing families with young babies across the country. The Association has claimed the action is contrary to the UKBA’s obligation to prop up the welfare of children.

In its submission to an ongoing consultation by the UKBA, the Association asserted the possible ramifications included disruption in the provision of post-natal care.

Its submission stated: "At the moment those with a baby under four weeks old will not be dispersed, but those with a baby over four weeks old may be dispersed.

"We find it difficult to envisage circumstances where moving a tiny baby could promote the welfare of that baby or assist in safeguarding that baby, and consider that to move a mother and child against the mother’s will where this has the effect of disrupting post-natal care runs counter to the agency’s duty".

Already, a group of Labour, Liberal Democrat and independent peers have condemned the government for delay in ending the detention of children at immigration centers.

The government has postponed the release until March. In a letter to the Guardian, supported by the Children’s Society, 10 peers and two bishops called for an immediate end to the practice.

More than 50 children have been detained since Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pledged six months ago that the family wing at Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire would close.

The peer’s letters stated children were still being held in detention in spite of the clear evidence that this was harmful. The peers also called upon the government to fulfill the promise that it made to end the detention of children without further delay.

Among the signatories were former Labour MP Lord Dubs, who was director of the Refugee Council, former Liberal Democrat Lord Dholakia and the Bishops of Lincoln and Leicester.

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