I have been working with a number of people in the last couple days to contribute to the organisation and mobilisation against the targeting of immigrants that has been happening in the last couple of months. I blogged about government action taking place and activism against it on Friday.
Since then, a few of us have been working on putting together a petition which has been taken forward by Black Feminists and the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London. I have been struggling with internet connectivity the whole of today – but the petition has finally gone up.
The government’s current initiatives and plans for immigration reform are undermining democracy and our communities. Recent events, particularly the ‘Go Home’ van campaign and the deployment of Home Office enforcement officers to urban areas, where they have been carrying out identity checks on those they suspect of being undocumented migrants, are aggressive, intimidating and involve racial profiling.
Such activities, that include the posting of pictures of arrests on Twitter using #immigrationoffenders, manipulate and inflame public anxieties about immigration that are already being exploited by extremist groups. At their worst, they incite racism and intolerance within our communities. They reverse the progress that has been made by current and previous generations to address these very issues.
It is with great urgency that we ask that the government review its approach to immigration policy so that it sustains and fosters equality instead of spreading fear and suspicion of others.
We ask that the Home Office use social media with greater care and responsibility, avoiding sensationalist language and inaccurate terms to describe those apprehended and detained.
We demand immediate and permanent withdrawal of the ‘Go Home’ van campaign and of Home Office agents to carry out spot checks.
The present policy harms us all.