Priti Patel confirms new immigrant detention centre

Priti Patel confirms new immigrant detention centre will replace Yarl’s Wood as UK’s only women-only unit by end of the year

  • New immigrant detention centre will be UK’s only women-only unit by end 2021
  • Derwentside migrant removal facility in County Durham will replace Yarl’s Wood
  • It’ll hold foreign national offenders, immigration offenders awaiting deportation 

Home Secretary Priti Patel has confirmed a new immigrant detention centre will replace Yarl’s Wood as the UK’s only women-only unit by the end of the year.  

Derwentside immigration removal centre in County Durham will replace the Bedfordshire site and will hold both foreign national offenders and immigration offenders awaiting deportation from the UK. 

The centre, which can hold up to 84 women and will be run by Mitie Care & Custody Ltd, is expected to be ‘fully operational by the end of the year’ and could create 200 jobs, the Home Office said.

Campaigners against the development gathered to protest outside the site on Saturday, the third demonstration in recent months. They branded detention ‘inhumane’ and said ‘seeking sanctuary is not a crime’. 

In a written ministerial statement to Parliament announcing the decision, Ms Patel said: ‘Detention plays a limited, but crucial role in maintaining effective immigration control and securing our borders. 

‘It is right that those with no right to remain in the UK are removed if they do not leave voluntarily.’

Campaigners against the development gathered to protest outside the site on Saturday, the third demonstration in recent months. They branded detention ‘inhumane’ and said ‘seeking sanctuary is not a crime’

Derwentside immigration removal centre in County Durham will replace the Bedfordshire site and will hold both foreign national offenders and immigration offenders awaiting deportation from the UK

In a written ministerial statement to Parliament announcing the decision, Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured) said: ‘Detention plays a limited, but crucial role in maintaining effective immigration control and securing our borders’

Ms Patel added: ‘This new, smaller immigration removal centre will replace Yarl’s Wood as the only dedicated immigration removal centre for women. 

‘In order to maintain operational flexibility, we will continue to maintain some limited detention capacity for women at Colnbrook, Dungavel and Yarl’s Wood.

‘These changes will significantly reduce the overall immigration detention capacity for women.’

She said the Government was ‘committed to ensuring the proper protection and treatment of vulnerable people in detention’. 

Ms Patel added: ‘Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of women is at the forefront of the new facility, and builds on the learning and experience of Yarl’s Wood.’

Campaigners gathered outside the County Durham site with signs warning the government they were ‘Holden you accountable’

‘Stop the hostile environment’, campaigners against the new Derwentside immigration removal centre in County Durham warned on Saturday

The number of migrants crossing the Channel hit a record 4,019 this month, exceeding the previous high of 3,879 in September. This year’s total is now a record-breaking 23,761. 

It comes amid chaos over the government’s immigration policy which forced Prime Minister Boris Johnson to order a Whitehall review into the Channel crossings.

Mr Johnson is said to be ‘exasperated’ by his Government’s failure to reduce the number of migrants making the journey in small boats.

Migrants huddle together on the beach at Dungeness on Saturday after three crammed boats arrived on the shoreline

The new arrivals bring the total number to have made it to the UK this month to 4,019, exceeding the previous record of 3,879 in September. This year’s total is now a record-breaking 23,761

Former Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, has been put in charge of the review.

It will seek to find solutions to the crisis and make sure all departments – not only the Home Office – are contributing. 

The PM was grilled on the subject when he appeared in front of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs last week.

Former Cabinet minister Sir Iain Duncan Smith is said to have challenged Mr Johnson at the meeting, telling the PM: ‘Migration was in our manifesto, it was in our DNA. If we don’t do it, they won’t forgive us.’

His remarks were reportedly greeted with a banging of desks in a show of support from his backbench colleagues.  

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