Nick Harper heads for the dustbin of history as New York proposes papers for all

As anti-immigrant minister Nick Harper heads for the dustbin of history, spare a thought, or some money if you can, for his Colombian ex-cleaner Isabella Acevedo, who now faces a fight against removal.Trenton Oldfield and Deepa Naik have set up a campaign and appeal for her here:

http://legaldefencefund.wordpress.com/

People’s Voice TV called us about this yesterday. They broadcast worldwide  from Wembley, over the web, and cover issues mainstream media avoid.

We’d searched UK media in vain for info about the person most affected by the saga but there was no mention of her. We only learned her name from People’s Voice, and that she had been getting all of £22 a week from Harper.

On the same programme, they hoped to interview with Bill de Blasio, New York City’s new mayor, who intends giving  ‘identification cards to residents regardless of their legal status, making it easier for undocumented immigrants to open bank accounts, lease apartments or borrow library books’.

The loudest applause of the afternoon came when Mr. de Blasio announced his plan for municipal identification cards, which he said would help immigrant residents without legal status participate more fully in civic life.

“To all of my fellow New Yorkers who are undocumented, I say: New York City is your home, too,” Mr. de Blasio said, “and we will not force any of our residents to live their lives in the shadows.”

… again, something I didn’t know about before; little on it in UK media.

Will New York be where this mad anti-foreigner craziness starts to unravel?

If it does, what’s the betting it’ll suddenly become extremely difficult to find anyone who ever thought anti-foreigner laws were a good idea, but felt it was politically necessary to go along with them because of all those racist other people?

Public meeting in Oxford, June 16th

No One Is Illegal is holding a public meeting in Oxford Town Hall on Thursday, June 16th at 7.30 pm, with:

  • VICTORIA BRITTAIN – journalist, author, former Associate Foreign Editor at The Guardian, and campaigner on many human rights issues, including detention at Belmarsh and Guantanamo, the oppression of Palestine and the Gaza blockade, and the brutality against women in the eastern Congo.
  • RAHILA GUPTA – campaigner, writer and journalist. Through interviewing at length five “illegal” workers for her latest book “Enslaved: the New British Slavery” she became convinced that the one thing that would free them would be open borders and the end of immigration controls.
  • TRACY WALSH – Trade Union and anti-racism activist; TUC Tutor at Ruskin College, Oxford.

Come and help build the arguments, and a movement, to replace the madness of anti-immigrant laws with a new politics based on equality, solidarity and freedom for all. Download the meeting flyer, read the media statement, or read the rest of this post here.

YouGov poll shows 54 percent support freedom of movement for all.

THE ANTI-IMMIGRANT LOBBY claims overwhelming popular support for its demands for fierce restrictions on certain kinds of foreigners (ones from “low-GDP countries”, as the UKBA puts it). Setting aside the assumption that it is ever OK to oppress people “by popular demand”, it appears even that assumption is wildly wide of the mark.

The YouGov poll commissioned by Lush for No One Is Illegal (NOII), and carried out on 19th May 2011 asked 2,056 people whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement (which you can support here):

“People should be free to live and work wherever they wish, and enjoy all the same rights as all other residents.”

54 percent of them either agreed (35 percent) or “strongly agreed” (19 percent)
• 31 percent either didn’t know (8 percent) or “neither agreed nor disagreed” (23 percent)
Only 16 percent disagreed (12 percent) or “strongly disagreed” (4 percent)

The sample was then split in two: half were asked more specific questions about whether their own travels should be subject to various restrictions; the other half were asked whether the same restrictions should apply to foreigners visiting Britain. This revealed a definite (but not massive) bias against foreigners – but more than that, how important “framing” is.

The first of the sub-questions asked Group A whether “you” should be free to live and work in a foreign country, and Group B whether foreigners should be free to live and work in Britain. Both groups replied in favour – although Group A’s majority (72 percent) was much bigger than Group B’s (46 percent).

i.e. a majority in both cases for freedom of movement for all, wherever they come from.
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Support Clara Osagiede, RMT Rep Assaulted and Suspended

DON’T LET INITIAL GET AWAY WITH ATTACKING THE RIGHT OF UNDERGROUND CLEANERS TO ORGANISE! 

Demo this Thursday 26th May, 10am, outside the hearing at the Initial Office, 13-27 Brunswick Place, London, N1 6DX (2 mins from Old St station)

Clara Osagiede is an RMT representative employed by Initial Cleaning Services on London Underground. On 4th March 2011 Clara witnessed members being forced to clean graffiti off a tube train in the ‘acid shed’ at Hainault Depot. Aware that the staff involved had no appropriate training to carry out what could be a very hazardous task she raised concerns with the manager on duty who told her it was none of her business and to get out of his office.
Clara explained she was a Health and Safety rep and that it was her business. The manager became aggressive and shoved her out of the office, slamming a door behind her. She reported the incident to other management and to British Transport Police. The manager was suspended but not for long. A few days later Clara reported for work to find the manager back at work without due internal processes being completed. Terrified she withdrew to a safe place of work locking herself in an office. Clara is now suspended for standing up for vulnerable workers being made to undertake dangerous duties in the acid shed for which they are not trained.

Please come and show support outside the disciplinary hearing this Thursday. Bring banners, placards and noisemakers!

Jailed, for being the wrong kind of foreigner

Dawn raid, October 2006Right now, out of sight, out of mind, in Britain, around 3,200 people who haven’t harmed anybody are being held in 11 special prisons, not knowing what’s going to happen to them, or when.
They’re people of all kinds – refugees, foreign workers, the foreign-born spouses or children of British people, overseas students, and even babies (the government promised in 2010 to stop doing this, but didn’t).
They’ve been snatched off the street or dragged out of their workplaces, schools or homes, even from their beds in the small hours of the morning, by special “border enforcement” squads that have legal powers even the police don’t have, and put straight into prison without any trial. If they do eventually see a judge, it’s not a real judge but an “immigration judge”, in a special “immigration court”, which isn’t subject to the same regulation as a normal court, and of whose existence most British people are quite unaware.
So what’s their crime? Being the wrong kind of foreigner: an asylum seeker, an “illegal worker”, an “overstayer”, a partner in a “sham marriage”. Which in general means: black (or at least, not exactly white) and not very well-off. Continue reading

UK retailer backs national campaign to end controls.

Ethical cosmetics company Lush is dedicating all of its 95 UK stores to promoting the cause of open borders and freedom of movement for all, from Friday 20th-Friday 27th May 2011.

Customers will be given a free NOII newspaper and invited to sign the No One Is Illegal Declaration:

“People should be free to live and work wherever they wish,
and enjoy all the same rights as all other residents.
No One Is Illegal.”

… and make a donation to help publicise it.

NOII 2011 Newspaper (THUMBNAIL) Lush have produced 50,000 copies of the 4-page tabloid newspaper, and a special passport that any human being can issue to any other human being.

The passport (download yours here!) affirms that its owner is a human being, and not an alien (or a corporate entity, or a figment of some racist’s imagination), and should be treated like one.

We hope to test the passport at a national border somewhere in the London area during the next few days.

Barnardos colluding to lock up children

On 9 March, Barnardo’s announced that it had agreed with the UKBA to provide staff and children’s activities for the proposed new immigration prison for up to nine families at Pease Pottage, Crawley Forest. A group of activists from groups including London No Borders, All African Women’s Group, SOAS detainee support, and National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns swarmed in to the Museum of childhood during Barnardo’s fundraising initiatives panel last week to ask, ‘How charitable is it to collude with the UKBA in locking up children?’ and ‘Why fund that of all things during the crisis?’.

Despite some protestations from the crowd, many looked thoughtful and kept quiet during the proceedings. After some leafleting and general interruption the group moved to the front of the museum where banners were laid out and discussions with passers-by took place- all in all a successful stunt.

The campaign against Barnardo’s agreeing to this contract must continue, to keep up to date with the campaign visit the London No Borders website.

Solidarity with Dale Farm

At our conference today, 9th April, No One Is Illegal resolved to send this statement of support to the Zero Eviction Day event at Dale Farm in solidarity with residents facing eviction:

No One is Illegal is for Freedom of Movement and the Right to Stay for Everyone. We are against immigration controls and for a world without borders. We oppose the criminalisation of people on the grounds of who they are. Eli Wiesel; Auschwitz survivor, novelist and Nobel Prize winner adopted the expression “No One Is Illegal” because he knew precisely where such criminalisation can ultimately lead. So we support the movement of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and their right to settle, permenantly or temporarily.

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To say what we believe, or not? NOII joins New Internationalist debate.

In the December 2010 issue of New Internationalist, we debated the case for demanding an end to immigration controls with a leading Canadian lawyer – who also seems to believe they should go, but thinks it would be a Bad Idea to say so publicly. You can read the debate here.

As far as we can tell, the world is full of people who think immigration controls are lunacy – but don’t think anybody else does.