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Despite the widespread recognition that the expulsion of Shirley Edwards and Evelyn Calcabrini, two Welsh-Argentines attempting to visit Wales, by the UK Border Agency at Heathrow must have been some sort of mistake, both have once again been refused entry by the UKBA.
When this story first appeared in the press it was reported as an act of ignorance by a clueless UK Border Agent, unaware of the Welsh speaking region of Patagonia. With questions in the House of Commons, protests at Whitehall, (giving out leaflet calling for the resignation of Phil Woolas) a campaign from Plaid Cymru, a petition and even a strongly worded editorial in the Daily Telegraph(!) it seemed the entire event was about to be glossed over and written off as a cock up. Following a benefit gig in Gwynedd raising enough money for two return flights, Shirly and Eveyln applied for visas to enter the UK as students. They were refused.
There are reports that these cases are not unique and that other Patagonian travellers to Wales have also been through the highly stressful experience of being turned away by the Border Agency. It appears that rather than Read the rest of this entry »
- In Bedfordshire, outside Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre, gather 11.30am at Bedford Town Centre.
- In Manchester, outside Pennine House, the detention centre near the office of Border and Immigration minister Phil Woolas, who was detained on friday evening. The extreme views of Mr Woolas have resulted in his receiving a pie in the face on an earlier occasion
- In Edinburgh, outside the offices of Group 4 Securicor (G4S), one of the largest private companies involved in the border prison industrial complex, running five immigration prisons in the UK and many more around the world at a considerable profit.
There are 13 immigration prisons in the UK and every year up to 30,000 innocent people including 2000 children are detained without committing any crime. The government wants to increase detention by 60% and have Read the rest of this entry »
The financial crisis is setting in, more and more people are finding themselves crippled by debt, while the banks who caused the mess in the first place are bailed out with public money by the government. Things are likely to get worse as people find it harder to get a stable job and affordable housing. We live in a world built by the creativity and co-operation of working class people, run for the benefit of the rich. The media and politicians, like the new Minister for Borders and Immigration Phil Woolas, would have us blaming migrants and ethnic minorities for our problems. We are told that migrants come here and take British people’s jobs. We are told that they are given and easy ride and preferential treatment with respect to benefits and social housing.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Asylum applicants are only entitled to around seventy percent of the lowest form of income support and are not allowed to work. Migrant workers and families are usually only allowed into the UK if they will maintain and accommodate themselves without recourse to public funds. Refused refugees who agree to ‘voluntary’ return home do not receive any money but £35 worth of vouchers per week, only redeemable in certain supermarkets. Other refused asylum applicants will receive no welfare benefits, are not allowed to work and are unable to access social housing. Even some migrants who have been allowed to remain in the UK for a certain period will only be allowed to do so on the condition that they have ‘no recourse to public funds’.
The vast majority of refugees who seek asylum in the UK have their claims rejected, largely due to a culture of disbelief within the Home Office, who have explicitly stated that they aim to deport more people than claim asylum. Hardly a system that is likely to do all it can to make sure people’s applications are properly heard.
Many fear returning homes because of the persecution they would face, others are unable to because their countries are war zones and are too dangerous. Take Iraq for instance, where a US and UK led invasion has completely destabilised the country and even conservative estimates of civilian casualties have the death toll in the hundreds of thousands.
Unable to ‘legally’ work, with meagre benefits cut and housing provision taken away, thousands of refugees around the UK are forced into destitution every year.
It amounts to nothing more than trying to starve people out of the country.
Some turn to working ‘illegally’, where they risk being imprisoned and deported for doing nothing other than trying to keep their heads above water. Others get by through mutual aid and the support of community networks of friends and neighbours. Support is also provided by a number of voluntary organisations. As a means of making such support more visible, we have put together a list of organisations in the Cardiff area. If you know of any other similar organisations in south Wales please let us know and we’ll add them to the list.
It’s really good that some people care, cos the Home Office sure doesn’t! No Borders South Wales believes that access to welfare, health, social care, education and housing services should not be denied due to your immigration status. We call on such services to be provided according to need and they should not be used to enforce racist immigration laws.
On Thursday, No Borders Manchester activists attended an event at Manchester University where the recently appointed Minister for Borders and Immigration, Phil Woolas was speaking. They first asked him for his passport, presented him with the very 1st ‘No Borders eco-nationalist award’, and then proceeded to chuck a cream pie in his face!
Since becoming Border and Immigration Minister, despite remarking that;
“when immigrants get here I think we’re cruel to them as a society” and “the asylum processes has caused untold human misery and division within our communities.”
Phil has come out with some incredibly draconian and reactionary comments;
“I think [the immigration system] has been too lenient and I want to make it harder”
“We need a tougher immigration policy and we need to stop seeing it as a dilemma. It’s not. It’s easy. “
“We have to have a population policy and that means at some point we will be able to set a limit on migration. This Government isn’t going to allow the population of this country to go up to 70 million.”
We’re not sure if the last quote, pandering to the overpopulation myth means Phil wants to put a limit on the number of births in the UK (perhaps with a Chinese style ‘One Child policy’), but it is hard to see how else the government is going to be able to fully control the size of the population.