Anti-racists are mobilising against the government’s ‘summer of attacks on immigrants’.
The Home Office has ramped up enforcement measures against ’irregular’ migrants, with its ‘go home’ campaign and immigration spot checks at stations. It is also ‘consulting’ on access to healthcare, undocumented working and housing for migrants.
In response, various organisations and groups are organising, challenging and campaigning against these measures.
On 13 August, the Refugee and Migrant Forum East London (RAMFEL) and Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN) held the first of three public meetings to support community organisations and activists mobilising against what they have described as the ‘summer of attacks on immigrants’. Louise Whitfield, from Deighton Pierce Glynn, explained at the meeting how her law firm, in conjunction with RAMFEL, challenged the ‘go home’ vans. As a result of this legal challenge the government has accepted that in the future it needs to have due regard to its duties under the Equalities Act 2010. Sophie Naftalin (Bhatt Murphy) and Estelle Du Boulay (Newham Monitoring Project) discussed the intensification of immigration spot checks, putting these into a broader context of policing in the capital and explaining the powers that those carrying out these measures do (and do not) have. Rita Chadha of RAMFEL led a discussion on campaigning.
Several organisations have called on witnesses to spot checks to get in contact. MRN has asked those who has experienced or witnessed spot checks to contact them on: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Network for Police Monitoring (NETPOL) has begun compiling evidence of discrimination and the abuse of police powers, calling on witnesses to the operations to contact them on: email@example.com.
Prior to the intensification of spot checks, the Anti-Raids Network (ARN) had already produced guidance on how to respond if targeted. ARN also runs workshops and provides training, amongst other practical activities. It has also been distributing the information at major transport hubs.
And in the latest development, a call has been made for an ‘anti-racist convoy’, to take place on Sunday 1 September.
Read an IRR News story: ‘One stunt too many’