Detailed announcement by Nick Clegg 16th December 2010: Asylum-seeker children are all set to receive the Christmas gift of liberation from the fears of detention, with Prime Minister David Cameron making it cleat the government was in favour of ending ‘scandal’ over asylum.
Cameron asserted the “scandal" of asylum-seeker children being held in immigration detention centres was to end; and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg would make a detailed announcement on the coalition’s plans to stop children from being detained in the removal centres as their parents face deportation.
The move is likely to benefit some of the failed asylum seekers. They could find avoiding being thrown out of the UK.
It comes soon after Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed the government will press ahead with plans to end child detention in immigration cases before Christmas.
May said an announcement would be made before the Commons Christmas recess begins on 21 December 2010.
The assertion on ending child detention came after veteran Labour backbencher John McDonnell Prime Minister how he planned to ensure children were not held in immigration detention centres.
Mr McDonnell said according to the latest statistics, over the last year, on 665 occasions, children of asylum-seekers were placed in detention centres. It means that this Christmas it is highly likely there will be children in our detention centres.
In response, the Prime Minister said they made a commitment in their coalition agreement to address this issue; and the deputy prime minister would be making a statement about how they were going to end this scandal.
May had only recently said: "The coalition government retains its commitment to end the detention of children for immigration purposes."
The issue was raised before the previous Christmas also. Then Home Secretary Alan Johnson was urged to stop the unkind and needless practice of keeping children in immigration detention centres.
In a communiqué to Johnson, Liberal Democrat’s then home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne had urged him to consider the plight of children, who would spend Christmas locked up in the centres.
The letter was shot off soon after Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg had sought the scrapping of the controversial asylum policy on detaining children in removal homes.
Launching an attack on the policy, Clegg too had asserted it would see hundreds of innocent children spend Christmas behind bars. How could the Government justify “state sponsored cruelty”? Clegg had then questioned.
Only recently, the Coalition Government had claimed it was working with a number of charities representing children and asylum seekers to achieve this end. `We are currently piloting alternative schemes in London and the North West,’ the UK Border Agency had added.
`The government is committed to ending the detention of children for immigration purposes and is working with a number of charities representing children and asylum seekers to achieve this end,’ it said.
The UKBA added: `In making decisions on asylum, staff working directly with families is trained to safeguard and protect the wellbeing of children and adults in their care’.
It claimed barbed wire has been removed from Yarl’s Wood in 2009 and ‘caged’ vehicles are no-longer used for moving children.