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Some readers may be surprised to know that in the UK there is no legal limit on the time a migrant can spend in immigration detention. Some people have been detained for months or in a few cases even for years. This might seem counterintuitive; the UK is a country which has a proud legal history of freedom of the person, but nonetheless it is true.

However, earlier this month, in the course of the passage through Parliament of the latest (of many) Immigration Bill, an amendment succeeded in the House of Lords  which would place, in some circumstances, a time limit of 28 days on immigration detention. The Government will no doubt seek to reverse this defeat and they may be successful. But this is at least a sign that some parliamentarians are unhappy about the current situation.

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