Anyone who is waiting for a final decision on their application to live in the UK can be required to regularly travel to “sign on” at an Immigration Reporting Centre. Every appointment carries the risk of being randomly taken to a detention centre. These conditions amount to unfair, unjust and unnecessary harassment of migrants, and it has to stop!
The campaign has launched
On March 3rd 2021, over 180 people attended the online launch event for the campaign to abolish immigration reporting.
We heard from people with experience of reporting, describing the trauma and the harassment, the demeaning nature of the system and it’s harm to people’s health, especially mental health.
The event organisers presented their proposed campaign principles, demands, outline strategy and some suggested tactics. We then split into facilitated breakout rooms, to discuss further, before returning to finalise and agree some ways forward.
The campaigners set out their demands:
- We demand an end to reporting conditions, for everyone.
- We will break the silence through sharing our experiences and encourage others to do so.
- We demand that those of you who witness and support us with reporting also take action to advocate for the abolition of reporting.
- The Home Office must immediately move to alternative ways of staying in contact, such as email, text, or phone
Take action now
Write to Your MP and ask them to sign Early Day Motion 1167. This calls for immediate action to suspend in-person reporting until it is safe to resume. Details here.
Go and tell three people you know about reporting and the impact it has on people’s lives. We already have many stories about this, some of them are here
Show solidarity by signing up to the Fair Immigration Reform Movement Charter
Sign up to the newsletter
Check out the Facebook page
Share everything on social media! Hashtag: #AbolishReporting
Share your story (see below)
Break the silence – share your story
Do you have to report (to sign) at the Home Office as a condition of immigration bail? Do you have a story to tell?
The power of your story
As part of our campaign, we are gathering the stories of people who suffer under this system. Stories that can be shared publicly (although you can remain anonymous if you wish, with no personal details). The immigration system can make people feel powerless, but your story when joined with the voices of others can be powerful, can make a difference, can bring change.
THE CAMPAIGN SO FAR
On 3rd February 2021, over fifty migrant campaigners, representing groups from across Britain, met online to discuss a national campaign against immigration reporting (signing). This was the latest stage in a year of highlighting and challenging this system.
Working groups were set up with the help of These Walls Must Fall and Migrants Organise workers, and national meeting was called.
On 3rd March, over 200 people attended the online launch meeting!
A year of struggle
In March 2020, as the pandemic really started to hit, Migrants Organise and others wrote to the Home Secretary calling for in-person reporting to be suspended. This eventually happened: the demand was successful. However, in the autumn as we approached another lockdown, the Home Office started texting people to say that signing was starting again.
In November, The Independent published an article highlighting the dangers of in-person signing during the pandemic, and reported the legal challenge by Duncan Lewis solicitors.
The Home Office decision to restart signing didn’t make any sense. Through the pandemic we have all learned to keep in touch while keeping distant. These appointments are not “essential”, not during a lockdown, not ever.
Also in November, a group of These Walls Must Fall campaigners, Voice for Voiceless Immigration Detainees Yorkshire (VVIDY), wrote to the Home Secretary, and the letter was co-signed by dozens of organisations. This time, the Home Office didn’t budge.
Migrants Organise were alarmed at the Home Office’s “reckless” decision to maintain reporting conditions during the second lockdown, and that it was “completely contradictory” to the government’s strategy of containing the virus.
VVIDY met with local MP, Olivia Blake, who agreed to support the cause. The MP tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament (a motion which calls for a debate as soon as possible). The campaigners at VVIDY, who all have direct experience of the reporting or detention system, called on supporters to ask their MPs to sign the motion.
Now, after these actions have still not moved the Home Office, and with Covid still a major threat to our communities, it is time to step up the campaign.