Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary are extremely concerned about the grave threat to life of COVID-19 in immigration detention centres, where strict measures for social isolation cannot be carried out, and many have serious health conditions. The centres are fertile ground for the spread of the virus and urgent action needs to be taken, before the situation strikes a crisis point.

We are asking the Home Secretary to immediately release all those held in in UK immigration detention centres to prevent serious harm and loss of life.

There is no justification whatsoever for anyone to be held in a detention centre, people there should only be held before being removed on a flight back to their country of origin, and there is no prospect in the near future of that happening. Those currently detained are there for administrative reasons only, which is against all natural justice. As Detention Action say “The law is very clear. The Home Office can only detain in circumstances where they can remove or deport people within a reasonable period of time.”

Whilst we welcome hearing that 350 have been released so far, that is not going far enough and over 700 are languishing in cells with the huge stress of being vulnerable to the virus on top of their great worry and concern about being removed to an unsafe country.

It is Liberal Democrat policy that detention should be as a last resort, with a judicial review within 72 hours, and never more than 28 days. Vulnerable people should never be detained. You can see the detail of Lib Dem policy here

We call on everyone to do what they can to put pressure on the Home Secretary, and to sign and share this petition