Truth 1. An Immigration Removal Centre is just another name for “Detention Centre”.
Most of the people detained in Immigration Removal Centres (almost two thirds) will be returned to British society. Don’t believe me, believe the Government’s own website which records for the last full year ending March 2020: “Of those leaving detention, 64% received bail (and so were released), 35% were returned from the UK to either their country of origin or another foreign country, and 2% left for other reasons (including being granted leave to enter or remain in the UK).”

Attempts are being made, however, to convince local people that Hassockfield will be full of foreign criminals. Why does this matter? It matters because two out of three people being locked up were not removed and so didn’t need to be detained. That isn’t how most of us want British Justice to work.

Truth 2. There is no evidence of need to increase the number of detention centres.
With around 3,000 places available in the detention estate, and a current population of less than a third of that, the decision to increase the number of places makes no sense.

For the record, government statistics state; “As at the end of March 2020, there were 555 people detained in the detention estate, down from 1,484 as at the end of March 2019”.
Have we all been sleeping less safely in our beds?

Truth 3. Opposing Hassockfield as an Immigration Removal Centre makes sense as part of a wider strategy
Effective enforcement of border controls will not be achieved by a very expensive and ever-increasing number of half-empty detention centres. Directing investment towards more effective migration tracking and a justice system which works quickly to make fair asylum decisions is the real answer. It will be more cost-effective and more humane.

Truth 4. Claiming opponents want an “open-door” policy is just cheap politics.
The opposite of an “Open door” is a “Closed door”. Anyone who accepts our international responsibility to give asylum where required supports an open-door policy. It’s a question of “How open?”

Our MP cannot have it both ways. He says he supports asylum where required, and if he does, he supports a partly open door.
What matters is that our country’s immigration policy achieves effective and humane management of our borders. I don’t believe Hassockfield has any part to play in that.

Owen Temple


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