British authorities have rounded up around 30 Iraqis and locked them into detention centres in recent week.
It appears to be in preparation for a deportation flight. While Britain is still at war in Iraq, it insists that it’s safe to deport refugees to a war zone.
Samir Mohammad, who has been in Britain for 17 years, is one of them. He’s lived in Sheffield with his British wife Anne Marie and their children Zahara and Soran.
When Samir went for one of his regular sign-ins with the Home Office, he was locked in Colnbrook detention centre in Berkshire.
Anne Marie told Socialist Worker, “I never thought something like this could happen. When I went to visit him on Sunday, he was so depressed I was worried he was going to hurt himself.
“It’s disgusting—they have to realise that he’s made a family here and they’re tearing that family apart.
“Samir left Iraq because he would have been killed otherwise and that’s what could happen now if he goes back.”
Zahara added, “We love our Dad, and we don’t know how we will cope without him.”
Relatives and Iraqis from across Britain protested outside the Home Office in London on Thursday night.
It was organised by the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR). Its president Dashty Jamal told the crowd, “Not since 2011 have so many Iraqis been picked up in Britain at one time.”
He accused Theresa May of “appeasing her racist supporters” and highlighted the hypocrisy of sending refugees back to a hell Britain’s war helped create.
“Many refugees were forced to flee Iraq after 2003,” he explained. “The ongoing war there today is a direct result of the actions of Britain. It is a disgrace to send people back in the middle of a new refugee crisis.”
The detainees and their families are now trapped in fear and uncertainty.
Vian’s husband Daban has been taken to the notorious Verne detention centre in Dorset, where it is difficult for those outside to contact them. “They are in a really bad situation there,” she said. “One detainee killed himself last weekend, another burned himself on Monday.”
Vian, herself an Iraqi Kurd, now has British citizenship, but Daban couldn’t get permission to come and join her. “They say the way he got here was illegal,” she said. “But 90 percent of asylum seekers come to Britain illegally—what else can they do?”