Socialist Worker

Politicians’ racism makes migrants live in fear - ‘Illegal’ worker speaks out on raids and attacks

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2406

Noluvuyo is a migrant worker who worked illegally in Britain after fleeing domestic violence in South Africa.

She’s just one of thousands of migrant workers who has lived the reality behind politicians’ racist rhetoric.

The Tories’ plan for a new wave of immigration raids for workers without papers will put workers in the same position as she was in danger.

She told Socialist Worker that the impact of being deemed “illegal” already has a devastating impact.

“I lived in fear,” she said. “I didn’t trust anyone. The isolation drove me to depression.”

Noluvuyo got a cleaning job when she came to Britain. She said she was “terrified someone would catch me”.

“I looked out for people in uniform, but I didn’t know who might detain me,” she said. “So every time I saw someone in uniform, or even people in suits, I was scared.”

The fear eventually pushed her to leave the job. “I told the managers I couldn’t work there any more,” she said. “They didn’t understand. They said, ‘You’re one of our best staff’. I had false papers so they didn’t know I was illegal.”

The Tories want working class people to see migrants as their enemies. In reality they are just ordinary people looking for a better life.

Noluvuyo explained, “I lived in constant fear for four years. So why stay? Because if I hadn’t left, I would be dead.

“People come because of domestic violence, religious oppression, torture or forced marriage. We don’t just make up stories. These things happened.

“It isn’t easy to leave your home. You have no family, no cousins to turn to. You are alone.

“People are suffering even in this country. But no one was born to suffer. We have skills and we want to work and to help.

“I hear people saying that they should get rid of the Human Rights Act, but humans need rights. Think of people as humans, not just migrants.”

Noluvuyo’s name has been changed

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