The practice that raised worldwide criticism to the president of the United States, Donald Trump, is also taking place in the United Kingdom. According to the newspaper The Guardian and charity institutions, hundreds of children are separated from their parents or guardians in the British territories every year.
To this year, 155 parents have been separated from one of more children while detained in United Kingdom’s customs. The attitude contradicts one of the Home Office’s current guidelines; no child can be separated from their parents, which according to one of the most respected charities, Bail for Immigration Detainees (Bid), happened to three families in the past 16 months.
In two of the cases, the parents were detained and local authorities alerted that children’s mothers could not raise the minors on their own. Both men were eventually released.
In a study published in 2013, Bid also analysed a sample of 111 parents that were separated from 200 children during a three-year period. The average period of detention was of 270 days.
Almost half of the 200 children were put under the care of local authorities or to adoption during their parents’ detention. In 92 cases, the parents were released. In 15 cases, however, the parents were deported or removed from the United Kingdom without their children. BID concluded that they do not have the total numbers of parents and children that are being separated from each other every year.
The Home Office did not wish to comment the numbers released by the press and the charity institutions.