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United Kingdom Immigration Detention

The United Kingdom has significantly expanded its use of immigration detention during the course of the last three decades, reflecting increasingly harsh public attitudes towards foreigners, who are often linked to terrorism and lawlessness in rhetoric used by public officials. As one scholar writes, “If earlier debates saw imprisonment [of foreign nationals] as regrettable but sometimes necessary, by 2005 [officials had begun presenting] detention as an aspiration, effectively erasing the distinction between criminal and asylum seeker through a promise to ‘introduce a new asylum process, detaining more people and using other means of contact like tagging to prevent people absconding when they are ready to be removed.’”

United Kingdom Quick Facts

  • Immigration detainees:
    29,000
    Detained asylum seekers :
    13,161
    Detained minors:
    228
    Immigration detention capacity:
    3,275
    Persons expelled :
    54,960
    International migrants:
    7,824,100
    New asylum applications :
    37,066