Politics

Channel migrants sent 500 miles to notorious Dungavel centre in Scotland for asylum processing

Migrants who risk their lives crossing the English Channel are being sent to the Dungavel detention centre in Scotland for processing as the Home Office buckles under the rising numbers.

Dozens of Channel boat people have been sent to the notorious Dungavel immigration detention centre in Strathaven, South Lanarkshire in the last few weeks.

Until crossings rose to record levels those arriving on the Kent coast in the south of England were taken to short-term holding facilities in immigration detention centres close by.

The Dungavel immigration removal centre, which is usually used to hold failed asylum seekers before they are deported, is a 500 mile, right hour bus journey from the landing sites.

There have been numerous calls to shut down the Dungavel Centre after reports of the medical and mental health of the inmates being affected by isolation amid incidents of violence and criminality.

Kate Alexander, director of Scottish Detainee Visitors, told The Guardian: “When I visited Dungavel on 14 October, I learnt that around 50 people who had crossed the Channel in small boats had been brought there for ’processing’”.

“Staff said this was the second time it had happened in a month, but not before that.”

Alexander added: “I was profoundly shocked that the Home Office is putting people traumatised from a dangerous Channel crossing on a bus journey of over 500 miles immediately on arrival.”

A Home Office spokeperson stated: “People should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach – rather than making dangerous journeys to the UK. That is why we will have rules in place to make asylum claims inadmissible where people have travelled through or have a connection to safe countries.”

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