A Brixton-based youth organisation is organising a rally in Windrush Square on Saturday (6 January) with the aim of making the “terror tactics” of immigration raids a thing of the past.
Brixton Friends Against Immigration Raids (BFAIR) is part of the fellowship programme run by The Advocacy Academy which has operated in Brixton since 2014.
It has grown into a community of more than 200 young change-makers who have led campaigns with a huge impact.
Successes include Lambeth CLT which secured a commitment for a £5m piece of land to enable a community land trust to build genuinely affordable homes/
Choked Up has raised the profile of pollution and its impact on Black and Brown communities as an issue in London.
The Halo Collective has signed up more than 1,000 employers and schools to its code to end hair discrimination.
After six months on The Advocacy Academy’s current programme, 20 young people are taking three new campaigns public:
BFAIR– building community resistance to inhumane immigration raids locally.
Homes not Houses, which is calling for Southwark council to repair homes more quickly and thoroughly to end disrepair and mould.
This is Medsogyny LDN, a group of young people campaigning to raise awareness about how neurodivergence presents in women and AFABS (people assigned female at birth).
Saturday’s Windrush Square rally is due to run from 10.15am until noon and BFAIR is calling on people across London to join them.
“Immigration raids are the Home Office’s basic terror tactic against migrants inside the UK.” BFAIR said.
“Immigration officers go into homes and workplaces to arrest people and deport them. Immigration raids are often carried out without warrants, with a 2022 Huck Study stating that, on average, over a four-year period between 2017 and 2021, nine out of ten immigration raids were carried out without a warrant.
“Raids often use excessive force to detain the victims.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attended an immigration raid in Brent, North West London, in June last year. He said the government had increased the number of such raids by 57% compared to the previous year and that arrests had doubled.
A Corporate Watch report, based on leaked Home Office documents, said that, in general, employers are not legally obliged to co-operate with immigration raids. “However, in practice, businesses complain that immigration officers often do not give the impression that cooperation is voluntary,” the report said.
BFAIR will gather and spread information on people’s rights, practical and legal resources, as well as connecting community support against the hostile environment as the Anti Raids Network also does.
The young campaigners said that when they learned about the Byron Burgers raid in London, it was a “trigger point:
The realised that “enough was enough” and that young people had “remained in the shadows too long” and that “keeping quiet when we had a voice was no longer appropriate”.
“Immigration raids are a failure of the human rights system,” they said. “That people are treated like this isn’t right. It is purely an injustice.”