Thursday, 14 January 2010

The latest plan to lock up children on the basis of their nationality here in Sussex

Today I have come, thanks to the inspiring Brighton No Borders group, across plans by the owner of a 225-room hotel in Crawley to convert the site to the town's third immigration detention centre.

The building's owner hopes to makes a few quid by downgrading the rooms from business traveller use to detain children and families awaiting deportation.

Detention is no place for children awaiting deportation - whatever the details of any individual case children should never have their basic human rights (in this case  to liberty itself) denied simply on the basis of their nationality.

Locking up foreign children is perfectly legal - thanks to the deeply illiberal approach of this Government: indeed it  sits neatly alongside the ID-Card scheme, the use of full-body scanners at airports and the shocking fact that there are more CCTV cameras per person in Labour's UK than anywhere on earth.

If I'm elected to parliament I promise to use whatever means I can to seek an early repeal of this policy's legal basis, and indeed the Government's whole misguided approach to security and immigration. I'm with Benjamin Franklin when he famously said that those societies that limit civil liberties in the pursuit of improved security deserve neither.

Meanwhile, I urge Crawley Borough Council to reject the associated planning application - which include an external 5.2m high wire mesh and razor wire fence and extensive floodlighting and CCTV camera system on 6m high posts - when it meets to consider them on 25 January, and Arora Hotels International to withdraw its bid to make money from the whole murky business of locking up children.


  1. I can understand your alarm here. However, what would you suggest as the alternative method for housing those facing deportation? Are you suggesting children should be seperated from their families during this 'waiting period'?

    Another interesting topic that you raise nonetheless.

  2. An important point is that these families are generally not at risk of absconding and have complied with reporting and immigration restrictions to date. The only reason they are being detained is often for "administrative convinience" according to the Home Office. Instead of imprisoning innocent children or seperating families, a much cheaper and more humane alternative would be to just avoid detention altogether.

  3. Crawley BC seem to reccomend this report "for approval" despite a long list of objections. It'll be interesting what the Cllrs there decide at their ctte on the 25/01/10.