Dawn Raid Prevented by Bristol (and national) Activists

by Bristol No Borders
on Tuesday 18 Dec 2007

type: Press Release
topic: Community
region: Bristol
“No Borders” Activists Prevent “Dawn Raids” on Children

Protesters from the No Borders network are currently blockading the bases of Immigration Enforcement Officers in simultaneous actions across the country, stopping them from entering or leaving in vehicles. The protesters are currently blockading immigration reporting centres in Glasgow, Bristol, Portsmouth and Newcastle. The protesters have been there since early this morning, and they have said that they will stay there until they can ensure that today, families throughout the country will be safe regardless of where they come from. The protest coincides with the UN International Migrant's Day.

In response to the growing number of attacks on family homes by the Borders and Immigration Agency, the No Borders network have taken action to expose and prevent the sinister tactic of “dawn raids” employed against families and young children. In Bristol, the protesters were in place in time to obstrtuct bemused immigration officials, whose vehicles are now trapped in the car park. A frustrated police officer on the scene was heard to say, “how did you know a dawn raid was happening this morning?”

Dawn raids are used to gain custody of whole families in order to imprison them. Every day, doors are kicked in and families are snatched from their beds and taken to detention centres, where they are punished for seeking refuge in this country. They are taken away from their houses, jobs, schools and communities – their lives. Immigration Enforcement Officers come in the middle of the night as the children and their parents sleep in bed, and have not left to go to school or work. It also ensures no witnesses are present. There are no official statistics as to the number and regularity of these raids because the government will not release the figures. But the fleets of vehicles which have been blockaded this morning and the harrowing personal accounts of families indicate large-scale capacity. Today No Borders have highlighted just a few of these bases, which are hidden around the country.

Simon Summerhill of the No Borders network said, “we are here to expose what the government is doing – breaking down doors and snatching children from their beds in the middle of the night. Some children go to school, others go to prison. Immigration officers regularly target the vulnerable- families, children and the ill or traumatised, in order to boost their official figures of deportations.”

Asylum seeking children are denied the human rights that all other children have. These rights include the right to go to school, the right to privacy, the right to family life (as established by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989). Under UK laws, children seeking asylum can be sent to jail and are often denied the right to education. No Borders maintains that a legal system which divides between children that have human rights and those that do not, is institutionally racist. To deny a child the right to education because of their background is racist, just as to deny an adult the right to work because of their background is racist.

Nikki Dickinson of No Borders: “This is institutionalised child abuse. They take kids who have already been traumatised and cause them even more distress. The effects of snatch raids, detention and deportation on children are unmeasurable. The families have often been settled in an area for years, and their removal affects the community around them- family members left behind, friends and teachers at school, neighbours.”