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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Massive upsurge in EU nationals held in immigration detention under Tories

Latest statistics show that the number of EEA nationals placed in detention in the UK has exploded over the last 8 years. The number of EU nationals detained by the Home Office was 768 in 2009. In 2016 the total hit 4,701. This represents a sixfold increase[1].

“Another day another indication of Theresa May’s “hostile environment” to migrants very assiduously at work. In this matter, at least she retains an iron grip, no matter the human, moral or legal cost” said Jean Lambert speaking on the new statistics.

According to the charity Bail for Immigration Detainees[2], the Government has had to pay out significant sums in damages for the unlawful detention of EU citizens acting within their rights.

It said one Polish national, who was detained after officials apprehended him in a public park while he was enjoying birthday drinks, remained in detention for five months despite an injunction stopping his removal.

The charity also said it had helped an Italian national who was held in detention for eight months because he had lost his ID card[3].

“The fact is just as British nationals are free to go live in other EU countries and have their rights upheld and respected so to EU nationals are permitted to do the same in the UK.

While there may be some current confusion on this matter, partly by design one might suspect, due to the current negotiations around Britain’s exit from the EU, the truth is that the Government is acting unlawfully in relation to detention in far too many cases.

It must be noted, however that this questionable practice predates the EU referendum. This is clearly a policy put in place in 2010 by the Tory Government. It is a policy which costs the tax payer each time the Government loses a case let alone the huge cost to the individuals unlucky to be caught up in this despicable strategy.

 The recent leaked analysis of the consequences of Brexit on the UK have shown that limiting migration is to the detriment of the country[4] and yet on the Government marches. However as long as it pursues illegal detention of EU nationals and refuses to guarantee unequivocally their rights in the UK, it inflicts not just economic but also reputational damage on the country.”