According to information released this month via a Freedom of Information request and shared with us (refused by the Home Office but subsequently released on request for review), Enforcement Teams in London conducted 12,026 ‘visits’ to homes, businesses and other sites in 2014. Visits include both raids to arrest and detain migrants, but also information and intelligence gathering of the kind we saw in last year’s Operation Skybreaker.
This works out to an average of 33 per day – or 231 per week – across London. The now thankfully defunct TV show UK Border Force last year bragged that “London and South East Enforcement Teams carry out over 100 raids a week”.
Today the Prime Minister of the new Tory government promised to continue this war against ‘unwanted’ migrants in Britain – black & brown, and above all working class and poor – with promises to criminalise migrants working without permission, roll out landlord checks on prospective tenants, prevent people from opening bank accounts, and end immigration appeals.
The only way to answer this is widespread refusal to collaborate with the rich parasites who run this country and to show maximum solidarity with our ‘illegal’ brothers and sisters. We can share information on people’s rights, such as the multilingual information on this site. This is empowering, creates cultures of solidarity, and can protect individuals during checks and raids. However, as the government promises to enforce its policy of ‘deport first, appeal later’ (i.e., not at all), and erode more and more of our freedoms, it is not enough to focus solely on rights. Information-sharing is one tool, but not our only one.
We have a vision. A city – a country, a world – with zero tolerance for attacks and harassment by cops, home office ‘enforcers’, or private security. Where if the uniformed bullies turn up to smash someone’s door in, barge their way into a workplace, or stop people in the street, they get surrounded by neighbours and passers-by who know the score and won’t take their bullshit.
We’ve seen this happen, we’ve been part of this happening, and it’s a beautiful thing. The moments where we say: ‘No’, these are our streets, here we fight for each other. This is what we want to help grow and spread: a culture where we stand up for ourselves and for each other, a culture of defiance and solidarity. As the government ‘socially cleanses’ vast swathes of this country, let’s make this our response.