Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen has condemned the use of dawn raids to remove the children of failed asylum seekers from Scotland.
Dawn raids to remove failed asylum seekers have led to protests
His comments came after the head of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) in Scotland said his department was still not "fit for purpose".
Robina Qureshi, of support group Positive Action in Housing (PAIH), said the immigration service needed reform.
A Home Office spokeswoman said it would take time to restructure the IND.
Mr Stephen described the dawn raids as "unacceptable and unnecessary".
He added that he opposed the message coming from the UK Government for a more aggressive approach.
"Clearly where there are failed asylum seekers there has to be a system to remove people from the country but, especially for families with children, dawn raids are not the right approach," Mr Stephen said.
"There has to be a more sensitive integrated approach involving the education authorities, social work departments and the UK agencies and when there are children involved it doesn't have to be at six o'clock in the morning."
A number of failed asylum seekers have already been subject to dawn raids.
There are about 1,500 families, mostly in Glasgow, whose applications for asylum have failed but who still refuse to leave.
Phil Taylor, who is regional director for the Home Office's immigration and nationality department, said it could be another 18 months before it was fully restructured.
Ms Qureshi said the asylum system was in chaos.
"They have a messed-up asylum system which they are continuing to use to enforce removals against asylum families," she said.
"They need to acknowledge that and to allow these long-term families, that have been part of the community, to remain and to sort out whatever structural issues that he's (Phil Taylor) referring to."
Following protests, a new system to deal with the removal of failed applicants has been launched.
A Home Office spokeswoman stressed that the restructuring of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, which had been ordered by Home Secretary John Reid, was never going to happen overnight.
It was always going to "take time" to work through, she said.