Campaigners for the Sajid family in the South Bank area of Teesside were celebrating last week after the family was allowed to return home.
Raheela Sajid and her two children, 14 year old Mohammad and 11 year old Shataj, had fled domestic violence in Pakistan. They settled in Teesside in the north east of England and became an important part of the community.
Then on 8 July immigration officers snatched the children from their schools and Raheela from home. The Sajids were taken to Yarls Wood detention centre, caged in the back of vans. They were then threatened with deportation.
But an angry campaign by local people forced the authorities to return the Sajids to Teesside last week. “We are really glad to have them back,” Christine Stubbs, a friend of the family, told Socialist Worker.
“Raheela was crying when she got back, and the children are still scared. Every car outside sets them off, as they think it could be immigration officers returning.
“They have a huge amount of support here. Shopkeepers have sent them food and people who they don’t know have gone up to the mother in the street and hugged her.
“This is only the beginning. We are fighting to keep them here permanently. There is a judicial review going through now.
“They spent three and a half weeks in Yarls Wood. It was terrible. I spoke to Mohammad on the phone and he sounded like a robot when he was in there — there was no feeling. Now we are trying to get them back to normal.”
Send messages of support for the Sajid family to Tony McNulty MP, immigration minister, c/o Direct Communications Unit, home office, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org