Crusade against the undocumented

Every day, across the UK, aggressive raids are being carried out at workplaces to root out those without papers.

Britain’s ethnic restaurant sector is under attack from government officials who, in their single-minded drive to meet ever higher targets for deportation, have no interest in the impact of their policies on small family businesses or the effect on Britain’s high streets. Workplace immigration raids, and raids on the homes of low-paid care workers and cleaners, carried out in unprecedented numbers and resulting in unprecedented rates of removal of people for transgressing immigration laws, see family assets wiped out, families criminalised, and skilled and hard working men and women jailed or deported.

Every day, somewhere in the UK, immigration officers, often with police, frequently wearing stab-proof vests, surround High Street restaurants, takeaways and convenience stores, seal exits and storm in…
Read full article: By Frances Webber, published by IRR
http://www.irr.org.uk/2009/february/ha000011.html

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Tear down the walls

Phillipe Legrain writes
Europe’s war against immigration is immoral and unwinnable. It’s time for a radical rethink. Europe prides itself on being a continent of human rights, freedom and international solidarity. Yet it is fighting an increasingly dirty war against immigration, with casualties mounting every day. The biggest victims are the poor and the vulnerable, who are demonised as “illegal” or “bogus”. But EU governments are also doing huge harm to the societies they purportedly want to protect.

read the full article…

Undocumented: a life of poverty, exploitation and danger

An undercover investigation by the BBC looks at the hidden world of undocumented Punjabi migrants in London. The hidden-camera investigation (with sensationalist headlines “Migrant criminal network exposed” and “Life as an illegal immigrant”) reports that these mostly young, Punjabi men are subsisting through poorly paid, dangerous and demeaning work, and are forced to rely on “forgers, criminals and ruthless employers” to survive. They call themselves “fauji” a Punjabi term for army foot soldiers.

“This hidden community is an open secret – landlords take on tenants, employers want cheap and uncomplaining labour, while the criminals trade in people’s lives.”

17 July: The report is now followed-up with news of arrests

discrimination and integration

Two interesting articles:

The Kitchen Classes
Minority-run caterers are being unfairly targeted in a severe crackdown on undocumented workers. The crackdown and its discriminatory naming and shaming of ethnic minority businesses will only increase workers’ illegality and exploitation. The honest and real solution is to give them the status and respect that they deserve. By Hsiao-Hung Pai, author of Chinese Whispers: The True Story Behind Britain’s Hidden Army of Labour


Barriers to integration
Many migrants work long hours and live in poor housing. Small wonder that some are accused of failing to integrate. You don’t have to read much of today’s parliamentary report on community and cohesion to realise that the headline finding – that “community cohesion can be adversely affected in areas experiencing rapid inward migration” – is far less straightforward than it first appears.

Ukraine: border guards of Fortress Europe

The detention building is claustrophobic – four triple bunk beds are squeezed in rooms of 12-16 sq metres.

“Who paid money to be a prisoner?” reads the graffiti on the wall of an illegal migrant detention camp in Ukraine where hundreds of Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Somalians and Vietnamese are being held. In this former army barracks close to the western town of Mukachevo, Europe’s immigration debate comes to life in the men who paid between $6,000 and $15,000 to smugglers to take them out of their often turbulent countries.

“In this camp, there is no life. The food is not good. They cook only potatoes. Three times we only eat potatoes, we have problems with our bellies,” said Bashir Ali, 16, from Somalia.

This month, EU lawmakers ruled that undocumented migrants could be detained for up to 18 months and face a re-entry ban of up to five years, measures that human rights groups said would lead to a “Fortress Europe” mentality. The European Commission is outsourcing the EU’s migrant prisons. Ukraine is paid over 30 million euros for it’s role of border guard.

Read the full feature article from Reuters: Held in Ukraine, migrants cling to EU dream

Also see:

Managing Migration Means Potential EU Complicity in Neighboring States’ Abuse of Migrants and Refugees and Ukraine: Migrants, Asylum Seekers Regularly Abused from Human Rights Watch

Global outcry against EU immigration directive

The European Parliament has approved stringent new laws for dealing with clandestine immigrants – a move that has come under forceful criticism from the United Nations, human rights advocates and developing countries.

The “return directive” would mean that in most cases in most cases an irregular migrant will be given two options – to return home voluntarily or face deportation. Those who refuse to go voluntarily could be forcefully removed and banned from coming back to EU territory for five years. They could also face up to 18 months in prison.

The United Nations has attacked the new laws as not providing sufficient protection for the “vulnerable.”

The UN high commissioner for human rights, Louise Arbour said at a press conference in Geneva on Wednesday (18 June) there lay in the new rules

a “difficulty in advancing the fundamental principles of the protection of individuals’ rights who are in a very vulnerable situation.”

Ms Arbour would have preferred that the EU instead ratify the UN convention on rights for migrant workers.

Amnesty International has also attacked the law, saying it was “deeply disappointed” with the EU. The directive “does not guarantee the return of irregular migrants in safety and dignity,” said the group in a statement. “On the contrary, an excessive period of detention of up to 1.5 years as well as an EU-wide re-entry ban for those forcibly returned, risks lowering existing standards…and sets an extremely bad example to other regions in the world.” read more at EUobserver.com

Latin America could halt EU trade talks over return directive
Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, has warned that trade talks between the European Union and the Andean Community could be suspended if the 27-member bloc pushes ahead with its new immigration law.

“We could even suspend those negotiations. What do we have to talk about with a union of countries that criminalises immigrants?”

asked the Ecuadorean leader during a radio programme on Saturday (21 June), according to Reuters.

“It will be very hard to talk business and ignore human rights.”

read more at EUobserver.com

Local immigration enforcement

From the Free Movement blog

I just came across a surprising Home Office press release. Usually, Home Office immigration press releases are recycled and re-used dribble. The ‘new’ ‘points’-based ‘system’ (I’d question the accuracy of all of these words) has been announced again and again and again, for example.

This one might just be a bit different. The stuff about local immigration teams is frankly disturbing…

…The tone of the press release makes these teams sound like some sort of sinister neighbourhood watch, except aimed at immigrants rather than criminals. Who will they be working alongside in local communities? Those who want their neighbour deported?

Check out this quote from Councillor Mike Rye, Leader of Conservative-controlled Enfield Council:

“Having a UKBA officer in situ in our offices will be an immense help in all areas of our work – I am really pleased that Enfield Council has been chosen to pilot this new way of working. This partnership will be a great asset in helping us combat fraud, speeding up checks on the immigration status of people applying for council services, and improving the exchange of information between the Council and the UK Border Agency for child protection purposes.”

I thought I’d check out the press release claim that the names of defaulting employers who employ illegal immigrants are to be published on the Home Office website. It’s true! They are actually doing it. They are bravely taking down major players in the international people trafficking business like, er, chip shops and take aways. I don’t see the directors of supermarkets or big food processing companies being done yet. Instead we’ll have small ethnic minority employers being forced out of business.

Read more at www.freemovement.wordpress.com