According to a new report the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has continuously failed to uphold its statutory duty to safeguard children of immigrants during their parent’s detention and had separated 200 of them from their family.
The study has been published by the immigration charity Bail for Immigration Detainees (BiD) which found 200 children of 111 parents faced appalling consequences as a result of the UKBA’s inability to take basic steps to protect them.
Parents were detained on an average of 270 days and in 92 of 111 cases they were eventually released after it was found that their detention served no purpose while their children suffered serious and unnecessary hardships the study said.
The study found examples of children being moved between unstable care environments, being victims of neglect and, in some cases, in danger of serious harm.
The children were found to have been experiencing losing weight, having nightmares, suffering from insomnia, crying frequently and becoming increasing isolated.
The report also revealed about the hidden scandal of children being split from their parents by the UKBA as research policy manager of BiD Sarah Campbell has said.
She said that the children who she spoke to described their despair and misery at not knowing when they were going to see their parents again.
The Border Agency displayed a callous indifference in continuing to detain parents, in some cases despite having clear evidence that children were in wholly unsuitable care arrangements.
In some shocking cases deportation of parents in detention were carried out from the UK while their children remained in care.
The report alleges in one of these cases the UKBA did not bother to find out if the children were in a safe care arrangement before removing their father from the country.
While the study did find most, but not all, of the parents deported had committed criminal offenses, the majority of those were non-violent and, in four cases, were immigration offenses such as possession of false documents.
Bid believes the research shows UKBA has significantly overestimated the risk of parents reoffending in these cases and has called for swift change to the entire process.