A national campaign has been launched against a new Channel 4 series, Immigration Street.
The programme, by the makers of Benefits Street, a controversial series aired in January 2014, is based on the residents of Southampton’s Derby Road. The series is due to be screened in the run-up to the General Election, leaving residents of Derby Road worried that they are being vilified.
Local residents have held meetings with Love Productions, the producers of Immigration Street, to voice their concerns and anger at the series of programmes. It has been reported that they have further shown their unwillingness to participate in the programme by putting up posters in their windows stating ‘Go Home Love Productions, No Filming or Photography Here’. The producers, however, have allegedly ‘steamrolled ahead’ with filming and the programme itself. Wilf Sullivan, a member of the campaign against the series and TUC Race Equality Officer, states that: ‘People who are part of recently arrived communities and settled communities will feel that they are being painted as the enemy within. Some will fear verbal and physical attacks, live in fear that the racism and xenophobia that will result from this so called debate will make it harder for them to get jobs and access to services and above all make them feel that no matter how long they have lived here that they will never truly belong’.
The campaign, started by the newly formed Southampton Communities Alliance, a coalition of local residents, community and trade union activists, is calling on Channel 4 not to screen the series. The Alliance organised a ‘We Are Southampton’ day of activities, a solidarity march, and discussions about Immigration Street. They are calling for a protest outside the Channel 4 headquarters in London on Friday 31 January 2015 at 11am.
You can sign a petition that will be taken to the Channel 4 headquarters demanding that they do not screen the programme, here.