From No One is Illegal
Immigration controls are racist towards all those wanting to come or remain. They are based on the crudest nationalism. They have a particular, and often hidden, effect on disabled people.
For instance it is a myth that NHS services are free at the point of treatment — since 1982 free treatment has been denied those judged not “ordinarily resident” here. All non contributory benefits — including disability living allowance and incapacity benefits — are subject to immigration status tests.
This government has ensured that since 1999 care in the community legislation has similar restrictions. And of course inside detention centres such as Yarlswood, disability issues are treated with contempt.
None of this should be surprising. This is because a common justification for controls has always been that migrants or immigrants or refugees are “spreaders of disease” or “unhealthy” or “weak” — and a threat to the English “bloodstock”. These eugenicist and racist arguments inevitably impact with a vengeance on those people who actually are disabled.
Disability is often a reason for exclusion of entry into the UK — on the grounds a person will become a “burden on the state”. Conversely disability as such is never a “defence” to those already here who are threatened with deportation. In one case, that of a paraplegic, the Home Secretary said: “In this country we expect the foreign disabled to be able to stand on their own two feet”!
Samina Altaf and her two children, Aqsa and Sumama, fled Pakistan after domestic abuse. All three suffer from severe rickets and are receiving medical support in this country. Nonetheless the Home Office want to deport the family. And now the NHS has refused to go ahead with planned surgical intervention because of lack of immigration status.
Samina and her children are not alone in this. Their cases are not exceptional. That is the problem. The racism they are now fighting is shared by tens of thousands of the undocumented.
Samina does not beg to stay here. Instead she demands her right to remain. She does not appeal for support because of her condition. Rather she asks for solidarity because she is fighting back against the racism of immigration controls.
How you can give solidarity
• Write a letter to Samina’s MP — Hazel Blears, House of Commons, London SW1. Quote reference A1233290. Ask your letter be sent on to the Home Secretary
• Invite Samina to speak at meetings
• If you belong to a trade union ensure that your branch supports Samina and that your union does the same at regional and national level
• Both children are of school age. Ensure your local teachers union support the campaign.
• Help fund the campaign. Make cheques out to “Samina Will Stay Campaign”
Samina Will Stay Campaign. c/o Bury Law Centre , 8 Bank Street, Bury BL9 0DL
Save Sadiq Abakar
In the last issue of Solidarity, we carried a short article on Sadiq Abakar, a Darfuri asylum-seeker whom the government is seeking to deport to Sudan, but left off the contact details of the campaign Lambeth College Student Union is running to prevent this. We urge readers to get involved.