Has Theresa May ever publicly said the words “Yashika Bageerathi”?
We haven’t heard her if she has. You can go on the Home Office website and search for either of the words Yashika or Bageerathi and find no results for the searches. The lack of names and faces keeps the policy making and implementation sterile, away from emotions and relationships, away from family life, love or compassion, which is very useful if all you care about is numbers.
In fact the only immigrants’ names we can recall her using since she took her office in Marsham Street have both been Abus: Qatada and Hamza. The two Abus are convenient pantomime baddies, one fitted with a useful hook to accentuate the cartoonish criminality that Ms May so appreciated.
Detention is very much in the spotlight: A forty year old Jamaican woman died at the weekend at Yarl's Wood immigration prison, and Medcine Sans Frontieres have today released a report on the terrible, inhumane conditions experienced by migrants unfortunate enough to be detained in Greece at the moment. For European countries (Greece is bad, but many others are becoming more like Greece every week) to have such inhumane conditions for people should be a source of shame for us all.
Last week Doc House screened a film made about the plight of migrants in Greece, many of whom had experienced the appalling hospitality of the detention estate there. We recommend you get to see Stop Over too.
When MAX (movement against xenophobia) was officially launched on 16 October last year, we were immediately plunged into the thick of campaigning and briefing against the odious Immigration Bill that’s still making its way through the various stages of Parliament. It was quite a baptism of fire by any accounting.
Last Saturday (15 March) we saw MAX firmly establish itself as a broader movement, addressing more than the latest piece of legislation in Westminster. More than 100 people gathered at the MAX conference for a long and intense day of meetings, talks and workshops. It was an open and welcoming event where different opinions were aired and debated with thought and respect.
On Saturday 15 March, MAX (movement against xenophobia) is holding it's first conference. It is a day of dicussion over the best way to counter the worst excesses of the media and politicians in the debate on immigration. Media coverage and political posturing from our representatives in Westminster run at unprecedented rates, and the voices against this are fragmented.
MAX presents a chance for a united stance against the xenophobic and intolerant dominant ideas, and the conference will determine the best way to use that voice.
It all takes place on Saturday 15 March, starting at 10.30am, at Vernon Square site of the School of Oriental & African Studies (near Kings Cross Station).
Valentines day saw heartbreaking scenes at St Pauls Cathedral as half a dozen brides without grooms gathered with supporters on the steps of the landmark church to protest their predicament of broken families. The message was clear – Theresa May not only wrecks Valentines Day for these people, it is a constant fact of life for thousands of people across the country. Two and a half years after the pernicious family rules on immigration were introduced, the campaign is stronger than ever and is attracting more and more people affected by the rules.
Just a short post to highlight the latest initiative of MAX (movement against xenophobia) against the Immigration Bill. Last week saw an entirely unsatisfactory debate in the House of Commons, which was labelled the Bill's third reading by the Government.
Our main points of contention, purely on the tactics of the government in their return to ramming the Bill through at the expense of real scrutiny and deliberation by our elected representatives are:
Sachin came to the UK to work as a doctor in the NHS in 2003 under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) on the understanding that he would qualify for settlement after five years, and then as a British Citizen should be able to bring his parents into the country to care for them when they reached 65 years of age.
Wednesday 15 January saw a packed Committee Room 12 in the Palace of Westminster as MAX (Movement Against Xenophobia) held a Parliamentary meeting to alert Lords to the insidious qualities of the Immigration Bill, coming their way from the Commons in the near future.
Timing the meeting proved to be a challenge as the Bill, previously flying through Parliament at an alarming rate was stalled before Xmas by a right-wing amendment placed by Tory backbenchers wanting to use the bill as leverage in their UK out of Europe campaign. So, without any avaialble date for the report / third reading in the Commons, let alone a second reading in The Lords, we pressed ahead with the meeting, which was addressed by a formidable panel of experts:
At the end of the year, we thought we'd take a little time to reflect and give others the chance to have their say. Our friends at Migrant Voice asked seven of their members from different parts of the world to give their thoughts - on their own stories or on the immigration 'debate' in the UK. They've allowed us to republish the articles here, so we'll start off with Sabir Zazai, who came here from Afghanistan in 1999.
The Immigration Bill has been held up purportedly by an amendment supported by over 60 MPs requiring the restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers be extended until 2018.
This is the oddest sort of political posturing we have seen in a long time. This amendment has no place in the Immigration Bill, the Government has no legal power to extend the restrictions, it is treaty bound to lift them after 7 years on 1st January 2014, even if the amendment was added to the Bill and the Government was able to extend the restrictions, by the time the Bill becomes an Act, allowing the provision to be implemented – it hasn’t left the House of Commons yet - 1st January 2014 will have come and gone.
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