1 August 2023News

Activists aquitted as "illegal migration" bill becomes law

Three activists who lay on the road outside Brook House immigration centre in November 2021, preventing people being put on a deportation flight, were found not guilty of causing a public nuisance by a jury at Lewes crown court on 13 June.

Griff Ferris, Callum Lynch and Rivka Micklethwaite had argued that they were concerned about the possible fates of the detainees if forced to fly back to Jamaica.

On 18 July, both anti-racist and anti-migrant protests met the Bibby…

1 June 2023News

'Morally unacceptable' bill looks set to become law

A so-called ‘Illegal Migration Bill’ was being pushed through its last stages in the House of Lords as PN went to press.

This law would prevent people who had travelled in small boats across the Channel to arrive in the UK from being considered for asylum. They would be detained and removed ‘as soon as reasonably practical’ to Rwanda or to another ‘safe third country’. There are also plans to ban those removed from returning to the UK.

The United Nations high…

1 December 2022News in Brief

After the anti-deportation group Detention Action began legal proceedings against the Home Office, everyone in the overcrowded asylum-seeker processing centre in Manston, Kent, was moved to hotel accommodation by 22 November.

Earlier, on 6 November, hundreds of protestors from the Action Against Detention and Deportation coalition demonstrated outside the former RAF barracks.

Manston was only supposed to hold up to 1,600 people at a time, for a maximum of 24 hours each, while…

1 October 2022News

Legal challenge to deportation policy

In early September, the high court in London carried out a judicial review of the British government’s plan to deport refugees to Rwanda.

On the first day, Raza Hussain KC told the court: ‘Rwanda is a one-party state that does not tolerate political opposition. It is a regime that repeatedly imprisons, tortures and murders those it thinks its political opponents. Those who protest or dissent from government directives, including refugees, are faced with police violence.’


1 August 2022News

Protests and legal challenge to take place on 5 September

The British government’s first attempt to deport up to 130 refugees to Rwanda was met with legal and direct action and ended in failure on 14 June.

After several lawyers had successfully appealed against the deportation of their clients, the government had only seven refugees listed to fly out of Gatwick airport.

In the late afternoon, a newly-formed direct action group called Stop Deportations lay down in the road outside Colnbrook immigration removal centre, creating a…

1 June 2022News

Campaigners disrupt dinner to denounce 'racist and inhumane' deportation plans

On 6 May, protesters infiltrated a Conservative party dinner in Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire. During a keynote speech by home secretary Priti Patel they took it in turns to stand on chairs to denounce her ‘racist and inhumane’ plan to deport refugees to Rwanda. (The audience booed them as they were removed.)

The UK government has reached an agreement with Rwanda by which refugees who arrive in the UK ‘illegally’ (the only way they can), and who apply for asylum, will be flown 4,500…

1 April 2022News

UK government presses on with plans to criminalise asylum

On 22 March, the house of commons voted down seven of the house of lord’s amendments to the Nationality and Borders Bill on its return to the commons.

In other words, MPs have reconfirmed that it will be a criminal offence to arrive in the UK without official entry clearance.

Under the bill, you can be imprisoned for up to four years if you enter the UK unofficially – for example, in a small boat across the Channel.

This will also apply to Ukrainians entering the UK…

1 April 2022Review

Goldsmith Press, 2020; 432pp; £32

Having volunteered with a small religious group supporting homeless refugees in Calais and London, I resonated strongly with this book. In particular, it helped me to see, in hindsight, our contribution as part of an extraordinary international mobilisation of volunteers endeavouring to provide refugees and migrants with on-the-ground help.

The book is divided geographically into ‘flashpoints’; places where refugees and migrants gathered to cross borders or found their journey across…

1 December 2021Comment

A poem by Pauline Sewards

Isobel is invisible
the skill of her job is to be discreet 
as she cleans
She sweeps the stairs with a hand-brush
because the hoover lead would trip us up
and the noise disturb us

Isobel is invisible
she leaves a trail of cleanliness after us
she changes light bulbs and toilet rolls
and washes our coffee cups
even though that is not her job
She is closer than our shadows
with her footfall
soft as tissue

1 December 2021Feature

Felicity Laurence reports from the 'frontline' of the UK's latest battle over migration

Rachel managed to grab some food, drinks and dry clothes and she raced back to the beach. Things moved very swiftly once everyone was finally brought ashore, drenched and shaking with cold and hunger. It was a question of trying to give them a little food and dry clothing as quickly as possible – in some cases, resuscitating people – and rushing around negotiating with police, the lifeboat crew and the local beach crew.

The buses had arrived, there was no time to chat or even to ask…

3 July 2021Blog

Tom Huggins-Teasdale finds inspiration in a recent Glasgow demo

Community is one of those words that carries different meanings to different people. It’s a word that people attribute their own values at times and as such the context it’s used in can be all important. For some, it means the people that live around them. For others, community means the people they choose to surround themselves with, in person or online. 

While generally positive, it does have one downside. Like any grouping, it means that no matter how many people fit into a…

11 June 2019Blog

'Positive social change results mostly from connecting more deeply to the people around you than rising above them, from coordinated rather than solo action.' – Rebecca Solnit

In times of crisis, people often react by coming up with quick fixes, quick strategies and quick actions to address the challenges we face. Although quick responses are sometimes necessary, we need to be careful in how we articulate our demands and how we organise. Climate breakdown, white supremacy and so many other ‘crises’ in the news right now are not actually new. For many communities around…

1 April 2019News

High Court orders halt to 'no warning' deportations

On 14 March, charity Medical Justice persuaded the high court to order a halt to ‘no warning’ deportations.

The home office has a policy of giving targets just three days’ notice that they will be deported – and that the removal could happen at any time after that. This denies people the chance to prepare evidence or appeals.

The Medical Justice victory followed courtroom success for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) on 1 March.

The high…

1 April 2019News

Sentencing prompts counter-trial and direct action

On 6 February, the 15 anti-deportation activists known as the ‘Stansted 15’ were sentenced for nonviolently stopping a deportation flight carrying 60 people to West Africa in March 2017. They had already launched an appeal against their convictions on 7 January, but this has yet to be heard. Their sentencing sparked a counter-trial and direct action in London.

Melanie Strickland (35), Ali Tamlit (30) and Eddie Thacker (29) were given nine-month prison sentences, suspended for 18…

1 April 2019Review

Wolf Press, 2018; 232pp; £9.99

Winter isn’t coming – it has arrived in this chilling post-Brexit fiction set in the moors and towns of Northern England. Britain has become a cold place for EU citizens like Mara, the book’s main character. Mara’s life story – from rebellious punk in 1980s East Germany via road protester in 1990s England to an academic career – is revealed in a series of flashbacks, intertwined with the love story between her and Beth whom she met on a road protest in the 1990s.

The comfortable…