why immigration is a feminist issue – and how to take action

This piece I wrote was just published in Feminist Times.

Government policies are intensifying in anti-immigrant focus. The draft immigration bill contains proposals to charge immigrants for using the NHS, force landlords to check the status of tenants and require checks before opening a bank account or being issued with a driving licence.

Struggles around immigration should be a central part of the feminist movement. These laws and policies are the cutting edge of black communities’ experience of state racism with women particularly affected.

In the 1970s, immigration officials conducted ‘virginity tests’ on South Asian women who arrived in the UK to marry fiancés. These state sanctioned sexual assaults were based not only on biological myth but also on racist and sexist stereotypes.

In its early months, the Coalition removed legal aid for non-detention immigrants, including women who had experienced domestic violence. After a legal challenge from Southall Black Sisters, it announced an amendment to cover domestic violence cases but what of other vulnerable women?

These policies, thirty-five years apart, are just two examples of the injustice of immigration policies and how they affect women.

 You can read the rest of it here.

I end by saying:

All feminists need to support women migrants by allying with these campaigns and actions. The struggle for the rights of immigrants should be one that concerns us all.

Southall Black Sisters is organising a demonstration against the UKBA and its ‘Go Home’ posters

Date: 24th October 2013

Time: 10.30 – 12.30

Location: EATON HOUSE, 581 Staines Road, Hounslow, Middx TW4 5DL

the UKBA has shifted the ’Go Home’ message to reporting centres in Glasgow, Croydon and Hounslow. The UKBA has used a picture of a destitute person lying on cardboard with the following statement‘Is life hard here? Going home is simple’.

As a result, there have been calls for inquiries and investigations into the government’s tactics. There is also a growing appetite to build an anti-racist movement. If the government can revert to the racism of theNational Front’s ‘go home’ slogans of the 70s then we too can invoke the spirit of solidarity that underpinned the anti-racist movements of the 70s and 80s.

Join us in demonstrating against the Government’s anti-immigration campaigns. We will not tolerate underhand tactics used to instil fear and divide us. Let us return to the streets and make our voices heard. We need to fight for our rights.

Please try to attend if you can and publicise the protest to all individuals and organisations you think may be interested, including via Twitter or Facebook.
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