On Thursday at midday, a group of 15 people picketed the Cardiff branch of the UK Border Agency, protesting against the dehumanising migration controls enacted by the government. The offices on Newport Road are housed within a non-descript building and one of the aims of the picket is to highlight what goes on here. This includes the fact that this is where asylum applicants are required to sign on a regular basis, risking being grabbed and detained in the process, and is also from where ‘snatch squads’ of immigration officers leave from to conduct dawn raids on unsuspecting families to take them into detention prior to forced deportation.

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Unusually for one of our regular pickets, there was no police presence, and banners were successfully placed on the walls of the building. Placards were held and many leaflets were handed out to passersby, which were generally favourably accepted, with the exception of a couple of people with whom a lively discussion took place on the subject of immigration. The comments made were typical of the hysteria spread about immigration by the tabloid press, mentioning support for the war in Afghanistan (but unable to give a single reason for an invasion) and unbelievably used the classic phrase “I’m not racist, but…”  followed by a number of racist remarks.

There have also recently been comments made on this blog, which were filled with hate-fuelled rage, but are ultimately uninformed and factually incorrect. This misplaced anger is often motivated by media disinformation, which victimises migrants and seeks to breed mistrust, hate and inevitably an intolerant public. The words “British tabloids” and “immigration” rarely find themselves in the same sentence without the words “outright lies” sandwiched between them (though there are some exceptions). The vast majority of rational people tend to avoid these hate filled rags, but the disinformation they peddle can be wide-reaching. Thankfully there are a number of blogs who read and respond to the outright bullshit published everyday, so we don’t have to, check out the likes of 5 Chinese Crackers and Angry Mob for a taste of the counterspin.

This was the latest of our series of monthly pickets, we welcome anyone who wants to come and take part, even if it’s only for a few minutes in your lunch hour. In light of the anti-migration rhetoric from the Home Office and disinformation spread by the likes of the Daily Mail, the Sun and the rest of the tabloid press, it’s important that we show solidarity with migrants and defy the brutal and inhumane policies on border control.

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