Over forty people braved the wind and rain outside the UK Border Agency on Newport Road on Wednesday to protest against the first Joint EU Charter deportation flight, which went to Nigeria. We gave out 150 copies of a leaflet by Stop Deportations to Nigeria, which were well received by everyone we spoke to.

At the same time as we were holding our demonstration in Cardiff there was a protest outside the Nigeria Embassy in London called by the Campaign Against Immigration Controls and No One Is Illegal. It was good to see plenty of people from other political groups coming together to condemn the UKBA and call for freedom of movement for all. We welcome the involvement of everyone who has a problem with the highly bigoted and discriminatory practises of the border regime.

The profile of the protest was significantly raised by the revelations of former UKBA employee Louise Perrett who’s experiences show the agency to be institutionally racist. Louse will be speaking about her time working at the UK Border Agency on Wednesday 23rd February in Bristol at an event titled “Home Truths from the Home Office“. Her bravery at speaking out must be commended and we give her our full support.

The protest made ITV Wales evening news as well as yesterdays papers, however, coverage of the whistleblowing has been quite limited, though widely covered in the Welsh news the rest of media has been quiet on the issue. This is in contrast to previous controversy about the immigration system. Louise’s claims of racism and discrimination by UKBA staff are easily recognised by anyone who has dealings with the agency. Of course this hasn’t stopped online bigots leaving hate filled comments on the story where it has appeared.

It remains to be seen what will come of these revelations, the local MP Jenny Willott has been asking questions in Parliament and chairman of the Home affairs committee Keith Vaz has called for an investigation. Though we are hopeful that people will be held accountable for their abuses of power, fundamental change is required to the way in which migrants to these shores are treated.

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