May 10, 2021
From Stand Up To Racism (UK)

PRESS RELEASE… for immediate release…

Monday 10 May

As Queen’s Speech outlines new plans for immigration, anti racists mobilise opposition

Tomorrow the Queen’s Speech will outline the government’s new plans for immigration, which anti racists are sounding the alarm that the policy will further intensify a racist ‘hostile environment for refugees and migrants. 

A Sovereign Borders Bill will attempt to introduce further barriers to migrants from crossing the English Channel.

Anti racists warn that one of the most dangerous elements of the plans is that people seeking protection as refugees would have their claim assessed based on how they arrive it Britain.

Care4Calais alongside Stand Up To Racism and others have been running a #FarFromFair campaign, in response to claims by home secretary Priti Patel that the new policy is “fair”. Highlighted at the centre of the campaign is the fact that less than 1% of the world’s refugees are chosen for resettlement schemes, the main legal route to asylum. 

At a recent protest of hundreds in Glasgow following a dawn raid that led to one of the people whose home was broken into being taken to hospital, campaigners spoke out noting that it is “no coincidence that we are seeing dawn raids appear again at a time when the government is ratcheting up its racist ‘hostile environment’ against refugees and migrants with their new plans for immigration”. The protest was joined by the ‘Glasgow Girls’ – Agnessa, Amal, Rosa, and their then teacher Mr Girvan – who were at the centre of a mass, and successful, campaign in the city in 2005 to stop dawn raids, which became widely known and celebrated with a BBC drama watched by millions.

As the new plans for immigration appear in the Queen’s Speech, indicating that they are earmarked to become law in 2021, anti racists are mobilising to oppose what they are warning is dangerous, unjust and divisive policy.

Clare Moseley, Care4Calais, said

“Priti Patel’s New Plan for Immigration is a direct attack on refugee rights and the government intends to get away with this by misleading the public.

“How a desperate refugee travels to safety says nothing about whether their claim for asylum is genuine; most refugees are forced to make treacherous journeys as wars and dictators don’t do visas. Blaming the victims for this is cruel in the extreme.”

A resident at Napier Barracks forced detention centre said

“This new asylum bill divides human beings into legal and illegal. It makes more people less eligible to claim for asylum. This bill contravenes the UN Refugee covention which the UK government helped in writing it in 1951. 

“People who seek asylum are fleeing for their lives. Therefore, there is no way they can travel with documents or apply for visas even if the authorities and dictators in their own countries supply visas.

“Criminalising, dehumanising and discriminating against the vulnerable asylum seekers must be stopped. It’s not about a specific community, it’s about how we all want to be treated when we are in danger.

“This bill can send a concerning message to other countries which host more asylum seekers than the UK. When a wealthy country like the UK with relatively low numbers of asylum seekers choose hostile and cruel measures, what we can expect to see from the other countries. 

“We all have to raise our voice and say that treating people who are fleeing from persecution or catastrophe, by discriminating and criminalising them is immoral and shameful.”

Pinar Aksu, human rights campaigner and Stand Up To Racism activist, speaking on the Glasgow protest said

“How many dawn raids have taken place? Until this day we dont know the answer from the Home Office… the family are scared. When he was taken to the hospital, the immigration officers told the daughter ‘We’ll be back’.

“Well you know what, when you come back you will be visited by us, we will be there to stop the dawn raids! With the new immigration bill, it is not a coincidence that the dawn raids have started.”

‘Glasgow Girl’ Amal Azzudin, speaking on the Glasgow protest said

“Nobody chooses to be a refugee, nobody chooses to be an asylum seeker, nobody chooses to leave their home. This is absolutely unacceptable, people have faced so much trauma before coming to the UK. They are innocent families seeking safety and sanctuary.

“People – we have done this before and we will absolutely do this again, if we are united. Let’s work together and tell the Home Office… this is Glasgow and refugees are welcome here.”

Weyman Bennett, co convenor, Stand Up To Racism, said

“This government is pushing hard to undermine the incredible anti racist spirit of the Black Lives Matter movement, and push racist division in our communities amidst the pandemic and crisis.

“They have commissioned a whitewash report denying the existence of institutional racism, attacked the BLM movement as “awful”, pushed a policing bill that targets anti racist protest, and their new plans for immigration are a part of this general racist assault on our rights.

“We stand with all those who want to fight the new racist plans and defend the rights of all those seeking asylum. We say loud and clear, you are welcome here. We need to mobilise that solidarity to drive back the government’s racist, dangerous and sickening attack on people seeking only to live in safety.”

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