8 December 2020: AVID: Today, we sent a letter to the Immigration Minister and Shadow Home Secretary highlighting the risks of housing vulnerable asylum-seekers in crowded barracks where social distancing is impossible, and urging them to implement community-based alternatives, to avoid further harm. Our letters were co-signed by more than 60 community organisations working with people in detention or seeking asylum.
‘Given the significant backlog in processing asylum applications, made worse during the current pandemic, it is time to consider alternatives. The government has talked about a reset moment for migration. Now is the time, but this can only be done by involving and engaging with civil society and people with experience of the system.’
Catherine Henderson argues that how we talk and write about migrants determines how we and others think about them and their place in our society. Welcoming migrants as ‘arrivers’ matters as much as recognising the reasons they had to leave other countries.
A few weeks ago a series of leaks from the Home Office conjured up a dystopian world where people seeking asylum in the UK might be kept on old ferries or oil rigs or sent to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. The boats in which they attempt to cross the Channel might be pushed back to France by wave machines or trapped in giant nets.
Throughout history, human beings have migrated. To escape war, oppression and poverty, to make a better life, to follow their own dreams. But since the start of the 20th century, modern governments have found ever more vicious ways to stop people moving freely.
The UK border regime includes the razor wire fences at Calais, the limbo of the asylum system, and the open violence of raids and deportations. Alongside the Home Office, it includes the companies running databases and detention centres, the media pushing hate speech, and the politicians posturing to win votes. It keeps on escalating, through Tony Blair’s war on refugees to Theresa May’s “hostile environment”, spreading fear and division.
This book describes and analyses the UK’s system of immigration controls. It looks at how it has developed through recent history, the different actors involved, and how people resist. The aim is to help understand the border regime, and ask how we can fight it effectively.
NB: we will be glad to send copies for free to asylum seekers and other people without papers. For other people and groups fighting the border regime, we can send at cost price or whatever you can afford to donate.
We have an urgent request: the call for Status Now for All is being carried into Parliament in an Early Day Motion – EDM #658 as follows:
EDM #658 – LEAVE TO REMAIN STATUS
That this House notes that there are currently an unknown number of persons in the UK who are not citizens of the UK and who do not at present have leave to remain in this country, who lack any entitlement to support from the state and are therefore entirely without funds to feed, clothe and house themselves and their families and who are unable to comply with government guidance on self-isolation and social distancing; and considers it essential that the government takes immediate action to ensure that leave to remain in the United Kingdom is granted to all such persons who are within the UK but are not citizens, irrespective of their nationality or immigration status, so that they can access healthcare, food and housing to enable them to adhere to government advice on social distancing, and to ensure the health of themselves and their families as well as helping protect the health of all of us.
Refugee Week Facebook event – it took place on Wednesday 17.6.2020, but is available for viewing. You may find it interesting to hear the stories of people with lived experience, and hear from Shami Chakrabarti, Alf Dubs and Jeremy Corbyn:
Detention Action: Sign the petition: In the wake of the killing of George Floyd by US police, the UK must act on its own record of systemic racism.
We are raising our voices to oppose the Government’s inhumane practice of indefinite immigration detention.
Immigration detention began in the UK as a way to imprison and deport black and brown people who came from Commonwealth countries.
Today, thousands are locked up every year. The majority of people we see in detention centres are black and brown people. Many are those who consider the UK their home, torture and trafficking survivors, and those fleeing persecution.