You can use this template letter to raise the issue of immigration detention with your MP. Remember, it’s best to send personalised letters to your MP – wherever possible using local, individual examples of the impact that immigration detention has – so feel free to add and amend to this letter!
You can use the text below, or download a copy of the letter here.
You can find the contact details of your MP here.
I am writing to you to express my concern over the government’s use of immigration detention.
People are being taken from our communities and deprived of their liberty and dignity, solely because they do not have or cannot prove they have the correct immigration papers. There is no time limit on how long individuals can be detained under these powers. The decision to detain is an administrative process – it is not a judicial procedure.
People are detained for months, if not years, on end, and decisions to detain are frequently not – as should be the case under current law and policy – taken as a last resort.
Calls for a time limit and far-reaching detention reform have gained increasing momentum over the last few years, notably with the inquiry of the APPGs on Refugees and Migration into the use of immigration detention (2015).
The nine-month parliamentary inquiry resulted in a report calling for fundamental reform of the detention system, including:
- there should be a maximum time limit of 28 days on the length of time anyone can be detained;
- there should be a presumption in favour of community-based resolutions and against detention;
- decisions to detain should be very rare and detention should be for the shortest possible time;
- the Government should introduce a much wider range of alternatives to detention.
Following this inquiry, the government-commissioned Shaw Review in 2016 and debates during the passage of the Immigration Act 2016 led the Government to make various promises and concessions, few of which have yet been implemented. Despite substantial public and political pressure and a ministerial commitment to reform, there has been little change.
Home Office statistics on the use of detention (released in February 2018) showed that over 27,000 people had been detained in one year alone. At the end of 2017, one person had been detained under immigration powers for over four and a half years.
We do not want our neighbours taken from us and treated in this way. As my MP, I ask that you raise this issue with the government and call on them to immediately implement the promised reforms and work towards ending the use of immigration detention altogether.