Charity to ask court for release of immigration detainees in face of Covid-19
A charity that supports people held in immigration centres will ask the High Court to order the immediate release of all detainees with underlying health problems in the face of the Covid-19 epidemic.
Detention Action claims a “significant proportion” of the roughly 1,500 people held in immigration detention have serious underlying health conditions which leave them facing “a significant risk of serious harm or death”.
The group also argues that “significant numbers of detainees will no longer be detainable because widespread travel restrictions prevent removals from taking place”, rendering their detention unlawful.
At a hearing in London later today, its lawyers will ask for the release of “every detainee with a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, hypertension, cancer or chronic kidney disease” pending a full trial, unless the Home Office can demonstrate “a clear overriding public protection concern”.
Detention Action says that, if its application is refused, “significant numbers of immigration detainees will die or suffer very severe illness”.
The case is thought to be the first Covid-19-related case heard in the courts of England and Wales.
Picture: UK Visas and Immigration stands on a window of a Visa Application Centre. (Jens Kalaene/DPA/PA).