On Wednesday 2 December the Scottish Parliament held a business debate on the detention of children at Dungavel immigration removal centre. The debate, sponsored by SNP MSP Sandra White (Glasgow) revealed an unprecedented cross-party consensus against detaining children in immigration removal centres such as Dungavel.
However, the progress the Scottish government thought it had made in halting the detention of children in Scotland has proved somewhat illusory. As Sandra White told the chamber:
Last year’s commitment to limit the detention of children in Scotland to a maximum of 72 hours appeared at the time to be a step forward. Unfortunately, the measure has simply resulted in children being taken from their homes to Dungavel, held for the maximum 72 hours and then transferred to Yarl’s Wood in England after that period has expired.
This is a cynical manipulation of the Home Office’s undertaking to the Scottish government to limit the detention of children and a shocking indictment of the UKBA’s claim that children’s welfare is paramount. As Sandra White continued:
The lip service that has been paid to the agreement and the way in which the Home Office is getting round the commitment that it made is shameful and totally unacceptable.