RAMFEL is delighted that the Government has finally recognised that it should have consulted and engaged directly with individuals and organisations representing the needs and concerns of immigrants in the UK about the ‘Go Home’ campaign and the use of vans saying ‘Go Home or Face Arrest’ on the streets of London.
The Government’s failure to do so and the subsequent ‘immigration spot checks’ have caused much distress and upset to a cross section of communities locally and nationally. The fact that the campaign has also been commented on extensively in the international media, also suggests that this has tarnished the UK’s long standing reputation as a tolerant and welcoming society.
We welcome the Government’s commitment to engaging more broadly and taking on board the views of those directly affected by their policies. We will be making sure that they are true to their word by scrutinising and advocating for ‘fairness’ across a cross section of government proposals and policies as they impact on migrant communities.
Rita Chadha, CEO of RAMFEL, the organisation supporting two service user migrants to bring the case, said ‘Informed and effective policy is always made when Governments listen to the reactions of communities. Whilst immigration will no doubt remain a hotly contested issue until the next election, we are glad that the Government has finally recognised that fair policy making requires the views of all sections of the community to be heard, including those that it directly impacts upon. We remain vigilant to the possibility of other attacks and policies that increasingly view immigration only as a negative, encourage miscommunication between local communities, and seek to create divisions within British society. Our message to government is ‘we’re watching you’’
RAMFEL is the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London. We provide free legal advice and a wide range of support services to asylum seekers, migrants, refugees and Black, Asian and Minority individuals and communities across London. http://www.ramfel.org.uk We have a long history of campaigning on local and national issues related to equality and immigration matters.
In July 2013, the UK Home Office introduced a campaign called ‘Go Home’. The campaign targeted six areas of London with two vans, with large billboards with the message ‘Go Home or Face Arrest’. The billboards were allegedly targeting those who were ‘illegal’ or undocumented in the UK. The following week there was also an intensification of immigration spot checks at major transport hubs in the capital. The Go Home Campaign is part of a Government campaign that has caused a national outcry, and infuriated a cross section of communities.
RAMFEL has supported two of it’s services users via Deighton, Pierce, Glynn to issue legal proceedings against the Home Office for a failure to consult and breach of the Equality Act 2010. Whilst the direct legal costs of the action are paid for, we are seeking funding to help with the associated campaigning and public education work needed now up and down the country.
The production and distribution of advice and information to those directly affected by the ‘Go Home’ campaign, with clear and easy to understand information on their rights and responsibilities.
A programme of public education to explain to people the reality of modern day immigration, which will include, leaflets, adverts in newspapers, videos and documentaries. Production of information and teaching packs for schools. Production of information and resource packs for migrant community organisations to help challenge the ‘Go Home’ and similar campaigns locally within their own communities.
The Impact: This has been remarked by some as a turning point in the UK Immigration story, people have described ‘Go Home’ as very Unbritish.
We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to show that the debate on immigration no longer needs to be neither negative or toxic.
If you or your branch can help then please contact Rita or Lucy on 0208 478 4513 or email firstname.lastname@example.org