Category Archives: Illegal immigrants

“You Can’t Tell Someone’s Immigration Status Just By Looking At Them” say Black Feminists

The following post is reblogged from the Black Feminists website who have set up a petition against the current disgraceful behaviour from the Home Office involving the offensive “Go Home” vans and stop and search policy at tube stations. Please sign their petition which can be found on their website by following the link above.  Lets show David Cameron and his party of prejudice that we won’t stand by and let them treat people like this.

Black Feminists

 Visa Checks in Tube Stations – and They’re Not New #UKBA

August 3, 2013 in Immigration

ukba  Officers at Kensal Green station. Copyright: Twitter @SaveKRLibrary

By Kiri Kahkhwende

Spot immigration checks on public transport are in the headlines now – its news now, but it’s certainly not new. An exclusive report by the Independent calls it “the new stop and search”. Londoners have been tweeting eyewitness reports of predominantly black people being stopped at tube stations in places like Walthamstow and Stratford. One incident at Kensal Green tube station was witnessed by a reporter for the New Statesman, who duly reported on it.

However, anecdotal reports from people living in West and North London suggest that these spot immigration checks have been going on since at least 2008. This would appear to be backed up by an episode from the first season of Sky’s UK Border Force programme, made in 2008, which shows, in the first six minutes, a team from UK Border Force stopping a black man at North Greenwich  station and later arresting him when he tries to flee. They do not specify how they know that someone is an illegal immigrant; the officer states only that they are looking for “anyone suspected of committing immigration offences.” An African man who challenges the officers (“Go and control your borders, not the station!”) is also stopped.

He has a point. Random checks at tube stations are not an effective border control solution. It is inconsistent and serves only one purpose; PR. Like the ‘racist van’, it is a publicity stunt aimed at reassuring the British public that the government is doing something about illegal immigration and but the effects of these stunts are felt disproportionately by people of colour.

You can’t tell someone’s immigration status just by looking at them. Notably, these checks have not extended to Clapham or Earl’s Court, where high numbers of Australians and New Zealanders live. Instead, the checks are happening – and have been happening for years – in mixed areas of London, in tube stations and on buses.  The ‘racist van’ controversy has brought this into the public domain but racial profiling is rife in areas of London outside of the media gaze. The only difference now is that we’re more aware of it.

This is the new stop and search. And like stop and search, its benefits are disputed but its damage to community relations is undeniable. The assumption underlying this is that only white people are British. Those defending tough policing aren’t just overlooking their prejudices about race and Britishness, they are denying the historic resonance of black people arbitrarily being asked to justify their right to belong.

Know your rights. There is a growing abundance of information about what to do in case you are stopped, the responsibilities of the officer involved and how you should respond. This infographic is a handy tool – print it off, carry it with you, share it. For an in-depth analysis of your rights and the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) own rules on the checks, read Ian Dunt’s article on politics.co.uk  on the high standard which officers have to meet to make a spot immigration check. Even if you’re not stopped, you can help someone else: Record everything. You can also inform the person of their rights.

And if you’re stopped, remember: “It is illegal for an officer to conduct a speculative check on your immigration status. If you are a commuter simply going to the Tube station, you do not satisfy this standard. Demand to know why you are being questioned. If you do not receive a decent answer, inform the officer of your rights and walk away. You can walk away, because this is a free country.”

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The Home Office Pogrom: A Message From Athens

Greek style racism comes to the UK (via Second Council House of Virgo)

Its that time of year when people up sticks and head off for a couple of weeks of sea, sand and souvlaki.   Only everyone’s skint this year, thanks to the Bedroom tax, the fuckups over benefits that have left people penniless for weeks on end, the…

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Immigrants and ‘Undesirables’ Held in Prison Camps in Greece: Could This Happen Here?

londonboroughs   images (2)

For the last few days the Home Office has been tweeting boastfully about the number of arrests that have been made by officers of the UKBA of ‘suspected’ illegal immigrants in London boroughs. The underlying message this sends is chilling to say the least. They give no information about where these unfortunate people are being held, or under what conditions. Have they had access to legal representation? We don’t know. How long will they be held for? We have no idea.

SNN3004GXA_1774004a  As this Home Office experiment was about to launch the Sun did a poll of its readers asking if they supported the ‘migrant vans’. From the results, seen here, it would seem that even rampantly right wing Sun readers are not overwhelmingly in favour of this latest demonstration of Tory bigotry. And when I checked out the (huge) response on Twitter, last night, to the Home Office’s boasts of arrests NOT A SINGLE ONE expressed support; in fact the overall message to the Home Office can be summed up as ” This is disgusting. Not in my name, please”.

Then this morning, by a strange coincidence, I came across the following blog post reporting on a comparable situation in Greece, which although more extreme than what’s going on here, made me wonder nonetheless just how close we were to scenes like it….

…and then they came for the trans* people. (via Second Council House of Virgo)

Operation Zeus in August last year marked the start of an ugly reminder of a European past that we thought we had long buried.  Nearly 60 years after the end of the Second European War, migrants were round up from the streets of Greece and shoved unceremoniously…

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