433472We’ve been very quiet on the blogging front since the end of the No Border Camp in Calais. The events on the ground in the region have got more intense, with French Authorities attempting to remove all migrant camps, however activists have been staying in the area doing Calais Migrant Solidarity. Some of us intend to return to Calais in the near future, if anyone is able to travel to Northern France to give support, get in touch.

Back here in Wales, the UK Border Agency have been very busy trying to (and often succeeding) ruin people’s lives. As usual the defence of their intrusive activities would be funny if it were not so tragic. The forcing apart of a married couple, was, in the words of their spokesperson “to protect young people” and to made sure they “receive the help and support they need”. At present the couple are legally entitled to live together anywhere in the EU, except the UK.

UK Border Agency staff routinely and systematically brand people liars when someone states their reason for fleeing persecution to come to the UK. However they surpassed their own characteristic levels of stupidity and cruelty when they refused to believe someone from Patagonia would want to come to Wales to brush up on their Welsh!! Thankfully due to some solidarity this ridiculous decision is being challenged, though of course the UKBA maintain they acted in a “firm and fair” manner!

In a rare bit of positive news the integrity of the National Health Service in Wales has been maintained. Unlike in England were people who have been unsuccessful in applying for asylum are refused healthcare, here in Wales the principle of health equality has been upheld. If the NHS is the biggest practical embodiment of solidarity in UK society it is heartening that at least in our small corner that solidarity continues. It is very rare that an organisation such as ours applauds the actions of a politician, however Edwina Hart’s delivery on the commitment she made last year is such a moment. Bravo!

Much of the motivation for this came from the appalling and quite frankly murderous treatment of Ama Sumani, which caused significant public outrage. However it should be noted there is no still allowance for people who are in the middle of life threatening treatment from being made exempt from deportation or detention. The UK Border Agency has got a blood-lust for the sick and it will be interesting to see if people who check in for health care without the correct immigration status are picked up by the UKBA. In defence of the Welsh Assembly Government, that isn’t a devolved issue.

As ever much of our work as a group continues away from the public arena, many people are routinely deported from south Wales despite overwhelming reasons under the British government’s own rules for them being allowed to stay. We often hear from people when the deportation is imminent and there is little time to mount a campaign. Though in the unusual situation where  a Judge may not demand deportation, there is more to be said for campaigning to stay before it is too late.