Article taken from Issue 1 of The Ox-Fly - Oxford's radical newsletter:
You might be wondering: how can the government get away with treating human beings like this? Because they are migrants. Because they are non-white, in a racist society. Because they have been labelled as "illegal immigrants", a convenient way to say that someone does not count as a human being.
Their "crime" was to try and escape persecution, poverty, torture or war in a system that wants them to stay put. Many of them have risked injury, prison and death in order to reach the UK, usually because they have the impression that Britain is a liberal, democratic country where they will find respite. Instead they are met with harassment, imprisonment in poor conditions, racist and demeaning guards and the constant threat of deportation.
As a group of detainees on hunger strike put it:
"Our lives incidentally have been stalled without any hope of living a life, having a family or any future [...] some of us are tortured and even face death or mental distress [...] We are issued removal directions without given enough time for an appeal. [...] On a regular basis, we are tortured, restrained, strapped like animals and beaten to effect [deportation]."
Why should some people be allowed to live in the UK and not others? After all, which country you are born in is a matter of pure luck.
You have probably heard it said that if everyone was free to move and live where they like, there wouldn't be enough to go around. This ignores the real reason why there isn't enough to go around: because the system allows the rich and powerful to hog it all!
False divisions between ‘locals' and ‘foreigners', and between different cultures and groups, are used all over the world as a way of distracting people from this, the biggest injustice of all.
• Find out more: barbedwirebritain.org/Voices.php
• Tell everyone you know.
• Campaign/take action against detention centres:
• Support local asylum seekers: asylum-welcome.org
• Get alerts on deportations + help stop them:
• Visit people in detention: aviddetention.org.uk
• Buy supermarket vouchers from asylum seekers so they can have cash to pay for travel and other expenses: tiny.cc/voucherswap