Anti-deportation campaigns

Help Luqman Onikosi

Published on: Thu, 18/02/2016 - 11:37

In 2007, Luqman Onikosi came to the UK from Nigeria to study at the University of Sussex. Whilst in the UK he developed chronic liver disease. After finishing his degree, he began to work in the Nigerian High Commission, before becoming to ill to continue work. In 2012, the Home Office attempted to deport Luqman. If he had been deported in all likelihood he would have died. Fortunately a successful campaign kept him in the country. Now the the Home Office is trying to deport him again. Support Luqman’s appeal for further legal advice, and a campaign to save his life.

Campaign to Stop the

We all belong to Glasgow

Published on: Tue, 29/07/2014 - 18:04

Charlotte Seleus

The Glasgow girls, are a group of school students from Drumchapel High School in Glasgow, who in 2005 took it upon themselves to campaign for the release of their friend Agnesa Murselaj, a Roma girl from Kosovo who was detained by immigration police in a dawn raid.

Agnesa’s whole family were placed in Yarls Wood detention centre and faced deportation back to a country where Roma people faced persecution.

The area of Glasgow where she lived housed a large number of asylum seekers from across the globe, and many went to Drumchapel High. It was not uncommon for students at the school to disappear

The Old Left Continues To Rot (1994)

Published on: Mon, 07/07/2014 - 00:39

THE "George-Galloway-loves-Saddam-Hussein" affair gave the Tories a
brief respite from their own scandals and sensational revelations last

It brought no respite to socialists concerned at the continuing decay of the old left. It was the latest putrescent manifestation of that decay.

The Tories needed the respite, and though in fact it was the BBC monitoring service which "broke" the story, we got tabloid front pages.
Beneath the abuse, they must have loved George Galloway!

"Where's your nose been Galloway? ...Presstuck up Saddam's junta, that's where!" grimly chortled the dingy Star.

Immigration detainee protests spread

Published on: Fri, 02/05/2014 - 21:15

See also new video here.

Events so far @ Wednesday 7 May 2PM.

On Friday (2 May) over 150 detainees in Harmondsworth migration prison occupied the main courtyard in a sit down protest and began a mass hunger strike. On Monday (5 May) supporters held solidarity noise demos outside Harmondsworth and simultaneously at Dungavel (Scotlans). Yesterday evening (Tuesday 6 May) protests started to spread to Colnbrook and Brook House
migration prisons.

At lunchtime on Friday 2 May over 150 people detained in Harmondsworth, the UK's largest migration prison run by corporation GEO group for the Home Office

Migrant solidarity news in brief

Published on: Wed, 11/12/2013 - 11:40

On 29 November, the Home Office attempted to deport Isa Muazu, a Nigerian refugee.

Muazu had been on hunger strike for over 100 days against his detention at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre and was feared to be close to death. However, the privately-charted jet the Home Office hired to deport him was not allowed to land by Nigerian authorities, and Muazu is now back in the UK.

The Home Office says that his deportation now has Nigerian approval and that they will try again. Muazu says returning to Nigeria would put him at risk from the Islamist militia Boko Haram, which he refused to

Migrant and local: workers unite!

Published on: Tue, 03/12/2013 - 18:12

Six weeks before Romanian and Bulgarian workers will get unrestricted access to European labour markets, David Cameron has announced new benefit restrictions on all EU migrants.

The initiative is, to borrow the word used by European Commissioner Laszlo Andor, “nasty”. It is also, to judge it in terms of bourgeois policy-making efficacy, nonsensical.

Under the proposals, newly arrived EU jobseekers will not be able to claim any housing benefit ever, will not be entitled to out-of-work benefits for the first three months of residency, will not be able to claim benefits for more than six months

How Jimmy Mubenga was killed

Published on: Thu, 30/05/2013 - 13:14

Angolan journalist Jimmy Mubenga repeatedly called for help during the 35 minutes he was handcuffed from behind and bent forwards in his aeroplane seat during an attempted forced deportation in 2010, an inquest has revealed.

Despite the corroborating evidence of 21 other passengers and crew, the three G4S guards responsible for restraining him claim not to have heard him, and that he position he was in (with his head lower than the seat-back tray of the seat in front) was self-inflicted.

It has also emerged that one of the guards forwarded racist jokes from his mobile phone before the

Don't deport Fernanda Milan!

Published on: Wed, 19/09/2012 - 08:45

Fernanda Milan is a 22-year-old transgender woman and activist from Guatemala.

In 2009, Fernanda fled persecution to seek safety and asylum in Denmark. Fernanda has now been told that Danish law does not recognise gender identity as a motive for persecution.

This is despite a 2011 Directive of the European Parliament (2011/95/EU Article 10d), which specifically mentions gender identity as a reason for persecution.

Fernanda has been informed she will be deported back to Guatemala on 17 September.

During her detention in the Sandholmlejren Centre for asylum seekers, Fernanda suffered appalling

Stop deportations at London Metropolitan University

Published on: Wed, 12/09/2012 - 11:41

Late on the evening of Wednesday 29 August, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) announced that London Metropolitan University was losing its “highly trusted sponsor” status.

This means that in the eyes of UKBA, being a London Met student no longer makes you eligible to stay in Britain on a student visa.

The right of the 2,600 non-EU students at London Met to remain in country has been stripped away with the stroke of a pen — the single biggest expulsion since Edward I's Edict of Expulsion which kicked out the Jews in 1290.

The basic drive behind this unprecedented assault on international students in

Thoughts on the London Met situation

Published on: Sat, 01/09/2012 - 10:13

This is a short commentary written by Workers' Liberty Student, Vice-President of the Liverpool Guild of Students 2011-12 and NCAFC National Committee member Bob Sutton. It has been produced in order to try and provoke discussion about how to best resist the deportations amongst activists this weekend. It is not a finished blueprint for a campaign, but an attempt to raise important questions, suggestions and contribute to the debate.

It was produced ahead of this weekend's National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts activist training event at the School of Oriental and African Studies on 1/2 September, where student anti-cuts activists from across the country were discussing. It has also been circulated widely amongst other activists.

Some preliminary thoughts on London Met

Myself and ULU Vice President Daniel Cooper, along with other activists from the NCAFC, were at the silent protest outside Downing Street on Thursday morning [30 August].

While it is clearly important that there was a quick and visible response to the news from the night before, and the placards which sought to expose the hypocrisy of the government's trumpeting of the Olympics, as an example of how Britain was a place which welcomed the world, were good, there was also cause for concern.

The demo had been called after a night in which the Executive of the London Met Students' Union had been up half the night responding to individual students' worried calls an emails, at a meeting at ten that morning between LMSU and the National Union of Students.

LMSU were reportedly warned against any action which might risk 'external' activists 'hijacking' the campaign – echoing the line the NUS leadership had taken since LM's status had been suspended and permanent termination was looming.

It is probably worth saying at this point, that Workers' Liberty, and many others across the student and workers' movements are almost certainly amongst the kind of people the national leadership are referring to: Socialists, anti-racists, anti-deportation campaigners and class-struggle activists who would see the attack on London Metropolitan's international students as part of the governments wider attack on black and migrant people, and any idea of public education.

If the NUS are worried about people not wanting to limit the campaign to lobbying and appealing to the idea that international students are 'good immigrants' who work hard and make shedloads of money for the British economy – they are right. We are for the right of everyone to come and stay here; to work, to study, to seek a better life or escape persecution. Those who come here to learn should not have to face being subject to surveillance or charged exorbitant fees.

From speaking to the LM students, it transpired that the University had sent out no formal correspondence to them. However, when they had tried to contact, University administration had told them they could not register. All they offered was help in finding alternatives studying at other universities – in effect washing their hands of them.

As it stands, students will be left isolated as individuals seeking to find themselves an alternative university [albeit with some help from whatever the provided assistance ends up looking like]. I had thought that there would be many who would simply not find places elsewhere, although I may be wrong about this – other Unis may well be prepared to sign up more cash-cows!

Even if the London Met 'refugees' do find places elsewhere, that will still mean a university has had to expel its entire non-EU student body and faces near or total collapse: students lives massively disrupted and those staff and students left behind almost certainly facing further course cuts, closures and job losses.

There is the further issue that, for many international students, their funding from their home countries is dependant on their studies not being interrupted or falling below a consistent level of high grades. Again this is something it would be good to get a better picture of, but it may well be the case that sponsors will not pay for tuition fees at a different university – let alone any increased living costs.

How to build a campaign?

There was a demonstration yesterday morning. I don't have a clear picture of how it went. What is certainly the case is that after the demonstration on Thursday, NUS international Officer Daniel Stevens held a meeting with the LMSU President and one of the Vice-Presidents which NUS International Committee member Arianna Tassinari and, for that matter, anyone else who'd been at the demonstration, was excluded.

The single most important factor that will determine whether we win or not, will be that the students affected, the some 2,600 International students at London Met, are able to discuss openly and frankly amongst each other and their supporters about how the campaign is run. I don't know yet how LMSU plan to get these people, or at least as many as possible, in one room at one time to have that discussion, but it needs to happen quickly. It needs to be run by the students themselves rather than decided in small meetings of the sabbatical team and the NUS officers and staff.

Something which I also think is massively important is that as many students as possible are on campus when term starts. Universities often make cuts, redundancies and other unpopular decisions during the summer in the hope that no-one will a) notice or b) be able to do anything about it. One of the reasons they will have done this now is that students are on their own spread across the world and separated from the 'home' students, students from other universities, staff and all the people who might be able to stop this from happening if they stood together. Everyone has the legal right to remain in the UK until the end of October when the 60-day period after the removal of trusted status (29/9). As many people as possible should be in and around the campus as much as possible, building links and building the campaign to stop the deportations before that point.

What do we want?

Again, the demands of the campaign will need to be something that develops by those who are fighting. But there are a few things which I think are important or worth thinking about:


Obviously, the central thing we want is for the UKBA [UK Borders Agency] reverse its decision to terminate trusted status [the licence for London Met Uni to accredit students] and grant all London Met students the right to be here. One thing which I think might be worth bearing in mind, is whether to call such a thing an 'Amnesty'. Amnesty suggests a one-off, an exception. I don't think everyone who has used the term has meant it in this way, but I think we need to talk about in a way which does not cut against the fact that we think everyone should be allowed to stay here.

London Metropolitan University

The fact that London Met management has so easily abrogated any responsibility towards its students is disgusting. They should still be treated as London Met students. It is the University that has taken the decision to deny students access to their lectures, the library etc. Obviously they have said that they have no choice and that they will not be legally allowed to register these 'illegal' students officially. But it is their choice to police these things, to fail to do anything to try and get around it, and to tell people there is no point coming back to London. Any self-respecting educator would see it as their job to defend their students rather than accept without a fight. The idea that it was by being 'too lax' on foreign students which got them into this mess, and that the way to get out of it is by being even more draconian is absolutely perverse. Immigration laws in Britain have been getting more and more repressive for over 20 years. The way to stop them is not to bend over backwards for them! Educational institutions should not be acting as assistant immigration police.

Lecturers and other workers

The UCU – the lecturers' Trade Union, has long-standing policy that academics should refuse to comply with the registering of attendance which. In recent years many Universities, including London Met, have installed hi-tech electronic scanners which take control of monitoring out of the hands of ordinary staff and therefore much more difficult to oppose. Despite this, we should have a serious discussion about how lecturers and other campus workers can best help get students back into lecture theatres – to talk to their classmates as much as to continue their studies.

Other Universities

I have already talked about how crap a solution getting students into other universities is. However I don't think that means we should not necessarily demand other unis, or Universities UK, the organisation of all University heads, commit unconditionally to taking on all London Met students. The reason this could be important is that it gives people around the country a focus in campaigning at their own institutions. How we do this without accepting the pulling of the plug on London Met is something to be thrashed out.

Where next

A demonstration that is widely publicised and encourages the local community, staff, students from other campuses and other activists is essential to maintain the momentum and the widespread outrage this has caused. If people do not here about a campaign they can get involved in they will assume it is dead.

This should be used to get people into a meeting to build the campaign.

Dan Cooper is keen to build a meeting at ULU around resisting immigration controls – this has been an issue at London Universities for some time. At SOAS, where we are meeting this weekend, in 2009 the UKBA in collaboration with the University management and the cleaning agency ISS stormed the building with riot police and deported several cleaning workers. There was an occupation of the Vice-Chancellors office. At points in London there have been powerful anti-deportation campaigns which have had some success at stopping removals and we need to discuss those lessons. There isn't a date pinned down yet but we should have one soon.

In Solidarity

Bob Sutton 1/9/12


Bob Sutton 07843 945 005

Dan Cooper (ULU Vice President) 07840 136 728

Workers' Liberty Student Organiser, Ed Maltby 07775 763 750

Issues and Campaigns


Submitted by bobsutton on Sat, 01/09/2012 - 10:18

The NUS Black Students campaign have called a demo on Wednesday: see here.

Submitted by AWL on Tue, 04/09/2012 - 11:18

Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn has submitted an Early Day Motion to Parliament which "calls on the Home Secretary to reverse the decision of the UK Border Agency to suspend London Metropolitan University's right to recruit overseas students; believes it is grossly unfair on those existing overseas students who attend university and will now be forced to move elsewhere or face removal from the UK; further calls on the Home Office and the university to work together to resolve any administrative issues and not threaten the future of the university; and also believes that this decision has very damaging and serious consequences for every university and will further deter overseas students from choosing to study in the UK."

Submitted by bobsutton on Tue, 04/09/2012 - 13:29

It is worth saying that when he came to and gave an overall very useful speech at the NCAFC training, Daniel Stevens apologised for the 'hijacking' comments. I am minded to take him at his word and in reasonable ggod faith. He was fairly clear however that the NUS would continue to use the 'economic arguments' in favour of international students.

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