Socialist Worker

‘The government is trying to deport my brother… even though he is a British citizen’

by Sam Almas, sister of Saqib Almas
Issue No. 2002

Sam Almas (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Sam Almas (Pic: Guy Smallman)

They came for my brother Saqib at 8am when he was still sleeping. My mother found two vans of police and immigration officers preparing to break our front door down.

Now the government is trying to deport him to Pakistan – even though he is a British citizen. This is blatant racism and arrogance from Tony Blair and his government. We have to challenge them, or they will carry on down this line.

The court issued a warrant for my brother’s arrest on Thursday 11 May. The next day they arrested him and by Saturday he was in Harmondsworth detention centre.

They gave him a document saying that they want to deport him to Pakistan because he has no ties in Britain and he has a criminal record.

This is ridiculous. He grew up here and went to school here. All our close family are here and we are British citizens too.

Yes, he has a criminal record – but for minor offences, and he has been punished for that. He’s done his time and he doesn’t deserve this.

What has happened to my brother makes me rethink my beliefs. I am British. I was born here. My grandfather was invited to live here after he fought for the British in the Second World War.

I’ve never felt that I had to choose between different identities before. But when they are threatening to put my brother on a plane to Pakistan, they are saying that they don’t want us here.

I’ve been a Labour supporter all my life, but now it makes me ashamed to think that I supported Labour. Some of the laws they have brought in are barbaric.

The government is completely blind. At a time when the British National Party is getting large votes in parts of London, anyone with any common sense would realise that what the government is doing is making the situation even more volatile.

Blair’s priorities are all wrong. I work in a hospital and I know that the NHS is in serious trouble with huge cutbacks. Government ministers should be worrying about that. Instead they are continuing with an illegal war, raiding homes and deporting people.

This is a quick fix solution from the government. To them, my brother and other people like him are just statistics.

But he is a human being and he should be treated with some respect. I have a three year old daughter and sometimes I wonder whether I really want to bring her up in a society with so much racism and injustice.

Blair thinks he is untouchable. He needs to think about what he is doing before he starts trying to teach the rest of the world about democracy. I have no faith in him or his government. We should remind them that they are answerable to the people.

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Tue 23 May 2006, 17:51 BST
Issue No. 2002
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