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Home Office withdraws Campsfield expansion plan

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first_imgCampsfield House Immigration Removal Centre in Kidlington will not be expanded, the Home Office revealed today, after months of protest and an independent review.Campaigners had feared that the centre, currently able to hold 216 detainees, would be doubled in size.However, in a letter sent to Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood, James Brokenshire MP said,”The Home Secretary has asked officials to initiate a detailed piece of work on future requirements, to take account of recent and potential future legislative changes.“In light of this, the Home Secretary has decided to withdraw the planning application for the proposed expansion of Campsfield House.”Commenting on the expansion, Blackwood declared, “Finally, common sense prevails. I am delighted that the Home Secretary is withdrawing the planning application.“These plans would have made Campsfield one of the largest detention centres in Europe and it was clear to me that the case set out by the Home Office did not justify building on Green Belt land.“And of course there were serious problems with the design of the building and how it would work in practice.”The news comes three weeks after Cherwell District Council postponed a decision on  the expansion, after a letter written on behalf of campaigners raised legal issues concerning insufficient consideration of evidence.  The letter was written by a team of solicitors on behalf of the Stop Campsfield Expansion group.Bill MacKeith, spokesperson for the Campaign to Close Campsfiel, declared, “This is a great victory. But the new government in May must implement the recommendations of the parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention: a 28-day time limit to detention and full judicial oversight of individual decisions to detain.“This would be a further step forward and entail some closures of detention centres. Above all, this is a chance to point to the need for the end of the barbaric imprisonment every year of 30,000 innocent people under 1971 Immigration Act powers. Close Campsfield. Close all immigration detention centres.”In November, a letter from Oxford academics arguing against the expansion was sent to the Prime Minister. In response, the Home Office insisted that a larger Campsfield “would provide modern accommodation and facilities for detainees”, and that “detention and removal are essential and effective parts of immigration control.”The government’s current policy on Immigration Detention has been heavily scrutinised in the run up to the election after Channel 4’s recent investigation into the abuse of detainees at Yarl’s Wood IRC, while Cherwell also uncovered claims of poor living conditions and self-harm by Campsfield detainees.last_img read more

Obama Gets “Every Kid in a Park”

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first_imgAs a magazine whose motto is go outside and play, it should come as no surprise that we are huge fans of a recently launched initiative that gets every fourth-grader in a national park.The program, which Obama put into effect today, provides free admission into national parks (as well as other federal lands and waters) for fourth-graders and their families for an entire year. The campaign also helps to kick off the new designation of three national monuments in Illinois, Colorado, and Hawaii.There have been multiple studies done that prove the positive effects nature can have on a child’s development, especially in the early years when traits like problem-solving and conflict management are just beginning to take shape. If you haven’t read our travel editor’s recent article on why we all, kids and adults alike, should spend more time outside, check it out here.It’s an important topic, especially given how much time we all spend with screens in front of our faces. From eyesight degradation to “text neck” to the fact that kids these days just aren’t bored enough, a government-supported plan to get more youth outside sounds like a long-overdue campaign, but one we’d rather have late than never.To read more about the initiative, read this article from the Washington Post or check out the National Park Foundation‘s website.And then, do yourself (and your kids) a favor — go outside and play.last_img read more

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