Migrants, Struggles

Protest against racially prejudiced laws

The group “Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!” are calling on Tuesday 30th November a picket of Communications House, a government building in East London, claiming it to be perpetrating racist immigration laws.

Erica Buist

An Immigration reporting Centre, Communications House is where asylum seekers must go to sign on “monthly, weekly, sometimes even daily” and from there they can be “snatched at any moment” in order to be taken and deported.

It is notable that Communications House is also “officially” a prison, with cells.

This system was introduced by the Labour Party and the group urge the “ConDems” to “condemn it to history”, which so far the coalition government have shown no signs of doing.

The picket, called by “Fight racism! Fight Imperialism!”, will take place on Tuesday 30th November, outside Communications House. They say that all are welcome and urge people to bring banners, noise, friends, music and the like – “join us to expose the nasty interior of this place for the world to see”.

Nicki Jameson of “Fight racism! Fight Imperialism!” told The Prisma that the pickets, which they stage regularly, are to draw attention to the fact that this building is there and to highlight this “unpleasant function in immigration policing”. The building, Jameson says, is anonymous in appearance and the simple act of drawing the public’s attention to it and its function is a step towards stamping out “institutionalized racism”.

The majority of asylum seekers who have to sign on at Communications House, says Jameson, are from Iraq, The Congo, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Cameroon, as well as other countries – most of which have a conflict going on in which Britain are involved.

When asked if she had witnessed any racist incidents perpetrated by Communications House, Jameson stated “Immigration laws are institutionalized racism; the fact that you can travel around freely if you’re from one country but not from another, is racism.”

Rather unpleasantly, asylum seekers in London are reminded by Communications House, in some cases even on a daily basis, that they are only provisionally welcome in a country in which they feel safer than in their own home. The threat of being deported at any moment is constant and very real.

The picket will take place on Tuesday 30th November from 5pm to 6pm outside Communications House, Old Street, EC1V 9BR.

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