Socialist Worker

Victim of media’s racist scapegoating

Issue No. 2002

Saqib Almas spoke to Socialist Worker from inside Harmondsworth detention centre. “I feel like I have been kidnapped by the state,” he said.

“Detention is worse than prison. I can’t believe what has happened to me. There is no democracy from this government.”

Saqib is a victim of the racist scaremongering being whipped up over immigration by the right – and being pandered to by New Labour.

Tony Blair made his intentions around immigration policy clear last week when he appointed Liam Byrne as the new minister in charge of immigration and asylum.

Byrne won his seat in Birmingham Hodge Hill at a by-election in July 2004. One of his election leaflets boasted, “While Labour were tough, the Lib Dems were wimps – they tried to stop us taking away benefits from failed asylum seekers and voted against speeding up deportations.”

The new home secretary, John Reid, spent his first day in the job making a high profile visit to the government teams responsible for finding “foreign criminals”. Reid said that “detection, detention and deportation” were his highest priorities. By the end of that week Saqib was in detention.

For more on the immigration scare go to Racist myths behind anti-immigrant scaremongering


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