Refugee Action are members of the Detention Forum and used to provide advice about assisted return to people in detention, before the Home Office withdrew the contract. These are some of the experiences of one of their caseworkers.
[At Dover IRC], we run an advice surgery at the removal centre. Today it’s grey, windy and drizzly, but on a clear day we can see France. At the centre, detainees of all nationalities approach us cautiously; some about returning, others just desperate to talk to someone new. Depression is common; I’ll sometimes meet someone perky, but as the weeks pass their demeanour changes. It’s sad. I try to build a good rapport with my clients; they tend to be lovely people considering all they’ve experienced.
[At Harmondsworth IRC] I complete AVR [assisted voluntary return] applications for asylum seekers and irregular migrants. I’m also approached by an Israeli conscientious objector, an extremely frustrated Nigerian client, and a client who believes he’s been unlawfully detained. I refer him to Bail for Immigration Detainees and plan to follow up the other cases later.