A new proposed “pre departure” centre in Sussex is a glorified PR exercise which reneges on the government’s promise to end the detention of children for immigration purposes.
The Liberal Democrats went into the last election with a manifesto promise to end the detention of children for immigration purposes, something labelled by their party leader as "state-sponsored cruelty". This commitment was enshrined in the Coalition agreement. Initially the Coalition fudged the issue, ending the holding of children at Dungavel IRC in Scotland in May 2010 but continuing to use Yarl's Wood and Tinsley House at Gatwick Airport pending the outcome of a 'review'.
As a consequence Nick Clegg was forced in December last year to announce the end of the holding of children in immigration detention and the closure of the families unit at Yarl's Wood by 11 May this year. Instead they would be held for a maximum of 72 hours in something called "pre-departure accommodation" or "open accommodation". A planning application for the first of these facilities at Pease Pottage near Crawley, designed to hold up to 8 families of up to 6 members at any one time, is currently being rushed through the planning stage to meet this deadline.
Having examined the plans in detail, a number of No Borders groups have come to the clear conclusion that this new form of Home Office operation does not in any way constitute a practical solution to the government's promise to end "the detention of children for immigration purposes" and that the Home Office are taking precautions to see that this proposed facility is sped through the planning process with the minimum of fuss and opposition.
London No Borders are urging all concerned members of the public to email either the Council's Central Area Planning Committee which will examine the application or all the 54 Mid Sussex District Councillors to show your complete opposition to this attempt by the Coalition to backtrack from their promise to end the detention of ALL children with this glorified PR exercise. Together we can hold the Coalition to their promise and force them to end the detention of children once and for all.