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Atrocity of the 139 arrested suspect illegal immigrants


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One of the unfortunate arresteesOn the 1st of August the Home Office ordered an operation which resulted in 139 ‘suspected illegal immigrants’ being arrested on the street. Twitter updates from the official Home Office account were published throughout the day, detailing the number of ‘#immigrationoffenders’ and posting pictures of some of the arrestees.

This was an absolute wrong. It was amoral and offensive on many levels.

My first issue is the targeting of illegal immigrants. I fail understand why immigrants are faced with such distain from a percentage of the British public. We are all humans. We are one race. If someone judges another simply because they are different, then an education of other cultures is required. Personally, I am of the firm belief that our country should operate with open borders. If someone believes that the Britain offers them more opportunity than their own country, then why should we prevent them that opportunity? Why should we make the benefits of living in our country exclusive to those born here or able to obtain a visa?

On top of this, an illegal immigrant has risked a lot to get to Britain. They have left behind all they knew, they have travelled a great distance, they have evaded border control and they have had to start a life in a country that is entirely new to them. This cannot be easy for anyone. Added to this the fact that illegal immigrants in Britain will usually have very little funds and they are here with no legal documents which inhibits their work opportunities immediately. Once here, they are trying to do enough to, quite simply, stay alive.

They do not need to be hunted down.

What happened on Thursday was a witch hunt. It was a misplaced show of force. It was the coalition’s cowardly way of desperately trying to win back the favour of socially right wing voters. Instead they have publicly humiliated 139 fellow humans whose crimes were believing that it was worth risking everything to live in Britain.

There is an aggression here that should not be ignored, excused or allowed.

George the Poet, an up and coming poet whose work is often thought provoking, has only recently published a spoken word piece in response to the ‘go home’ slogan that has been attached to vans and driven round the streets of London. He called the Home Office’s ‘go home’ campaign ‘Brutish, not British,’ an erringly potent assessment of the situation. One which is also very fitting of the Home Office’s brutal orders resulting in the arrest of these 139 unfortunate people.

But the British public can also hold themselves partially responsible. We, as a whole, have given the coalition government thinktanks reason to believe that this operation was a good idea.

One thing that this government has shown is that, aside from the economy, they act almost purely on the behest of the public’s ever changing opinion. This is what has caused the endless amount of U-turns and back peddling which has become a trademark of the coalition. That means that they must have believed that the public would respond well to this initiative. Although I am an advocate of open borders and I try to champion the rights of people who are less fortunate than myself; I have never directly or knowingly done anything to help an illegal immigrant establish themselves in this country.

But imagine if I had.

Imagine if everyone had. Imagine if everyone who objected to the Home Office’s blatant disregard of basic human rights had made an effort to show the way they felt before this incident. I can’t be sure that it would have prevented it. But I would like to think that it would have. We live in a democracy, where the majority is supposed to rule. Now, more than ever, we need to show the government how we feel. We are well within our rights to object to what happened. The government, it seems, were in breach of their rights as they illegally stopped and searched hundreds of people on that day.

It should not be this way. We should not let it be this way.

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