A guide from the Anti-Raids Network about building resistance to immigration raids.
(For tips on what to do if you see an immigration raid, see here)
We are a loose network and believe that resistance best comes from the grassroots. We also think that the most effective resistance to immigration raids can take place locally, as we usually don’t know in advance where raids will take place. We’re not looking to “bring people in” to us, to become another mass organisation. Instead we’d like to see lots of autonomous groups forming and feeling empowered and confident to take action themselves. We aim to provide materials, advice and information to support this.
There are currently an average 12 of immigration raids per day across London, leading to unknown number of individuals being snatched from their homes or places of work and bundled off to detention centres where they await deportation. Raids, however, can be made unworkable through combined efforts and different tactics. Here we list possible initiatives and ideas based around different interests or skillsets which we would love to see people taking on and developing.
Many of these things are already happening – we just need a lot more of them! Others are long-running ideas that have yet to come to fruition. Feel free to get in touch if you would like any advice or information to support your initiative.
We feel it’s essential to develop communications tools to support resistance among people who live or work in areas affected by raids. To this end, you could:
– Develop a small-scale secure communications infrastructure to share alerts (neighbourhood, local businesses, network of friends, a market, a targeted workplace). This could be an instant messaging group, or text alert system, or something else altogether.
– If you’re technically-savvy, why not look into developing an app for people to share raids alerts securely? Some have already been trialed in various countries – we can send you links to these if you get in touch.
IN THE WORKPLACE
If you think that your workplace is at any risk of being targeted by Immigration Enforcement – either looking for staff, service users, clients, or customers – it can be a critical area within which to organise. Discuss the issue with colleagues you trust and come up with a plan.
Depending very much on the nature of the workplace, this could be:
– Agreeing a response plan in the event of a raid, for example, some colleagues helping others leave the premises while others stall at the door.
– Make sure your colleagues know that they can refuse entry to immigration officers, as officers rely heavily on consent alone to raid a property. If they’re in possession of a warrant or an Assistant Director’s letter, they can force entry. Be aware of the risk of “arrests by appointment", particularly if you and your colleagues have a bad relationship with your employer, or if you’re in the middle of an industrial dispute.
– You may want to organise your own messaging group, particularly if you work in a large-scale or mobile work place, or if the work is spread across different sites (such as a courier company).
– You might want to present your bosses with a statement (signed by as many workers as possible), setting out your position on non-collaboration. This might be that you collectively refuse to carry out a specific task being asked of you (such as to check or report the migration status of a person), or that you simply won’t participate in any functions of immigration control.
– If you work in administration and data entry for sectors being pushed into collaborating with the Home Office, you could ‘forget’ to enter certain data, such as addresses, or in the case of GP surgeries, use the practice address instead. See the Doctors of the World Toolkit for more on this.
– If you work in the NHS, check out Doctors of the World’s ‘Safe Surgeries Toolkit’ for ideas on what you can do to prevent information being handed over to Immigration Enforcement, and get involved in the Docs Not Cops campaign.
– If you’re a student, parent, teacher or lecturer, have a look at the Schools Against Borders for Children campaign against the use of the Schools Census for immigration purposes, and check out Unis Resist Border Controls.
– We encourage you to get in contact with us via Twitter when you see a raid happening (@antiraids, copy in @LCAPSV), so that we can spread the word. If you don’t have Twitter, consider calling someone who does and ask them to message us. Always include the exact time and location that you spotted the raid.
– If you work for or were recently employed by the Home Office, or you work(ed) for another agency that is required to collaborate with Immigration Enforcement, we would love to hear from you. All communications will be kept confidential, and you can communicate with us securely using our PGP key if you prefer.
– If you know anyone or any businesses directly at risk of being raided, send them our know your rights information.
– If you know anyone working in a sector being brought into the fold of immigration control (NHS, schools, universities, homelessness charities), send them information relevant to those areas (links above). Similarly, if you are active in resisting the extension of controls into these areas and have information on developments that we could share, please get in touch.
– If you feel confident in giving workshops to groups at risk of raids, involving role plays and basic ‘know your rights information’, you can use the following slideshow as a guide (notes included): http://slides.com/antiraids/deck
GRAPHICS & TEXTS
Images are essential! Clear images help communication across barriers of languages and literacy. We have found that while some stall visitors may not want to pick up a wordy leaflet, they’ll happily take an informative poster they can stick on their toilet door. We will share most posters and graphics submitted to us on the site (if in doubt please get in touch first).
– Create & share images, infographics, posters, or stickers against snitching and collaboration with immigration control, encouraging migrant solidarity, and resistance to immigration raids.
– Write up your experience of challenging immigration enforcement so that we can add it to our ‘Confronting the Raids’ series to inspire others.
– Get out into the streets: print out and put up posters (flyposting guide here), stickers, graffiti, stencils etc. Note that some of these things could constitute a minor offence, so be careful. See here for some posters you can download and print.
If you have skills in a language spoken by those affected by raids (see the languages our materials already translated on our side for a guide), then you might be particularly well placed to do street-based outreach, workshops and translations. We welcome help in translating and proof-reading the ‘know your rights’ cards into other languages, and are still looking for translators for the Igbo and Tigrinya versions. We are also looking for proof readers for the Yoruba version. Get in touch if you are interested in translating information or posters, as some translations might be more pressing than others.
If you have access to cheap printing so that we can print leaflets, pamphlets, or A3 colour posters, please let us know.
We’re always looking for input from lawyers who are familiar with the powers of immigration officers and the intersections between immigration and public law. Please get in touch if you’d like to help us develop more materials. Note that we consult with multiple legal heads before we publish anything.
Whether it’s running a regular stall, leafleting in the street or going round from shop to shop, you can use any of our materials to do so, or develop your own. Get in touch if you would like any of our ‘know your rights’ cards (shown in the pic above) or leaflets.
Over the past couple of years, groups have held weekly stalls in Deptford, Peckham, Haringey and Whitechapel. If you are interested in starting a local stall your own stall or group, we recommend that you check out our principles, as we promote and support groups that agree with these principles. So, for example, we do not promote party-political or other hierarchical groups. If you are still interested after having read this, then the best thing to do is probably to contact your local anti raids group and visit their stalls.
It’s also worth checking out this guide to starting your own Anti Raids group.
Fight back against raids when you see them happening. See here for ideas on how.
We don’t just have to wait for ‘racist vans’ to enter our neighbourhoods, we can also follow them when we see them on the move. Have a look at where your nearest enforcement base is and consider organising protests there.
We encourage you to get in touch before you start working on some of the above projects, as we have been actively working on many of the areas outlined above and are aware of the practicalities involved.