Socialist Worker

Protesters say, 'we are all migrants' as Tories push through nasty Immigration Bill

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2376

Workers protest against raids in London’s Chinatown as MPs debate the Immigration Bill

Workers protest against raids in London’s Chinatown as MPs debate the Immigration Bill (Pic: Socialist Worker)

The Tories’ new Immigration Bill returned to Parliament for a second reading on Tuesday of this week.

Left wing Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn was set to force a vote as Socialist Worker went to press, so that some opposition to the offensive bill would be recorded. 

The government has tried to rush the legislation through, accompanied by scare stories about how immigrants supposedly abuse services.

It will remove the right to appeal against deportation until after it happens. It will force landlords and other staff to behave as border guards checking on the immigration status of people they work with.

There were two protests on the day. 

People in London’s Chinatown blocked roads in anger at a wave of immigration raids on their workplaces.

And at a protest outside parliament organised by the Movement Against Xenophobia, Habib Rahman from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants called the government’s actions “cheap posturing”.


“London would not be London without immigrants,” he said. “We service London—look on buses, tubes and hospitals.”

Unite political director Jennie Formby said, “Anyone who cares about democracy should not be prepared to tolerate this hateful legislation. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone fighting to see it gets defeated.”

Joseph Choonara from the Socialist Workers Party said, “The bill is a brutal attempt to scapegoat migrants. It’s a green light for landlords to use racist practices. 

“It’s about turning people into border guards.”

Jeremy Corbyn said, “Last week I was at Mile End tube. I saw two immigration officers dressed like you and me. People were surprised when they were stopped and didn’t want to work with them.

“But two police officers said you have to show your papers. It made me think of Apartheid South Africa.”

Jack Tan from Bradford told Socialist Worker, “This is a nation of immigrants and it’s about time the government stopped kicking us.”

Thousands told to get out - by a text

The UK Border Agency has sent out thousands of texts telling people to get out of Britain—including to people who have lived here legally for years.

The texts say, “Message from the UK Border Agency. You are required to leave the UK as you no longer have right to remain.”

Human Rights lawyer Suresh Grover received one  of the texts. He put in a Freedom of Information request and was told that 39,100 such texts were sent out. 

Suresh arrived in 1966 and is a British citizen. 

He told the Independent newspaper, “I think it’s outrageous sending people random texts without knowing who they are sending them to. I was angry but I was also bemused, because of the work I do.

“But I think people who don’t work in this area may take them seriously and be worried they don’t have the right to live in the UK. It’s horrific.”

The texts are being sent out by Capita as part of a £40 million government contract.

Myths and vague numbers behind health tourism scare

The Tories produced two reports claiming that, contrary to what all experts have said previously, migrants’ use of the NHS is a problem.

One Daily Mail front page said that “health tourism” costs £2 billion a year.

The report it quotes actually puts the figure at up to £70 million. It adds this to various other vague figures to get to a cost to the Health Service from migrants of £1.7 billion. 

The report warns that, “There is a great deal of uncertainty in the results” and “all of the values should be used with considerable caution”.

It puts the annual running cost of the NHS at £91.5 billion. So even if the vague figure were true it’s less than 2 percent. 

Some figures include people from the European Union who have a legal right to access the health service.

And they ignore the fact that migrants who work in Britain pay tax and already help fund the NHS.

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