Deportation or Removal
NO ONE IS ILLEGAL
a campaign may be necessary
A campaign is necessary where the law is not enough to stop
deportation or removal.
There is never a guarantee that
a campaign can succeed. There is never a guarantee about winning anything in
immigration law. All you can do is fight.
However, many years of
experience have shown that campaigns and public support can put pressure on
the Home Office and that cases can be won in this way.
Not every case requires a
campaign. Many cases can be won just through proper legal representation.
However, many cases cannot be won just through the law.
Some cases may not appear at
first sight suitable for a campaign – for instance, some people may be
afraid of publicity. However, it is always essential to balance the fear of
any publicity with the fear of eventual deportation or removal.
It is your decision whether or
not to have a campaign.
Not many people who come to this country expect to need a
campaign to remain here. However, many people who come here don’t expect to have
any immigration problems.
It is your decision and only
your decision whether or not to set up a campaign. It is also your decision
about what happens in the campaign. Everything the campaign does or attempts
to do should be with your agreement and consent.
Though it is your decision
whether or not to have a campaign, yet in the end you may have limited
options. Many people would choose having a campaign; if it decreases the
chances of being put on a boat or plane and being taken out of the country.
It is natural at first to think
a campaign is strange and frightening. However, the Home Office is very
frightening and a campaign is there to support you against the Home Office.
What a campaign means for your
Campaigns are not easy. They require an enormous amount of energy
on your and everyone else’s part. The energy is required to build the campaign
activities and get other people to join in these activities.
You will have to be involved in
all the activity of the campaign. You, your family and your friends are
central to any campaign. Unless you are all active, then it will not grow.
Campaigns require you
publicising your situation and your life. You cannot have a secret campaign!
You will almost certainly have
to learn to speak openly or in public about your case. No-one finds this
easy at first.
Having a campaign can give you
A campaign is there to help you win your case. However, it can
also give you tremendous personal support and strength. A campaign can help you
survive the pain and misery of the threat of deportation or removal.
You will not be the first person
to have had a campaign! You will not be the first person who thought that
you don’t have the strength to get involved in a campaign! And you wont be
the first person to realise that the truth is just the opposite! It is the
solidarity from the campaign and from the campaign supporters which can give
you the strength to fight the Home Office.
You will also not be the first
person who gets depressed at various stages of a campaign. This is natural.
However, the solidarity of the people in the campaign will help you get over
You will gain many close friends
through the campaign.
Getting support from people in
your situation. Fighting together!
Perhaps the biggest source of support is meeting with and talking
to other people under threat of the immigration and asylum laws.
You could meet and discuss with
other people who have had campaigns and won. You can learn from their
You could also meet with other
people who are presently having campaigns against deportation or removal.
There is strength in unity and joining in with each other’s activities.
You could invite other
anti-deportation campaigns, both locally and nationally, to your events. You
and your campaign could also join in events organised by other campaigns. If
you give other people support then you will get support back.
Demand support – don’t beg for
it! Solidarity not sympathy!
You are not to blame for the situation you are in. The fault is
totally with the Home Office and its immigration laws. Therefore do not feel
ashamed! None of this is your fault!
Because this situation is not
your fault, then you and your campaign should not beg for support. You
should demand it!
Remember! Your campaign is
asking people for support and solidarity. It is not asking for pity or
There is no need for the
campaign to publicise every single detail of your case or your personal
Some of the strongest campaigns
are the ones that are most open politically and which stress that the cause
of every deportation and every removal is the racist nature of immigration
and asylum laws.
Learning to become a political
Having a campaign means learning something you may not be used to
doing – speaking in public! At first this may seem difficult. However it becomes
easier each time you do it. Sometimes it is good fun!
Other people may help you
prepare your speech. However remember it is your speech, your life. You must
say whatever you think best
Some of the best speeches are
the ones that are most political. These are the ones – that demand and do
not beg for support – that describe and explain how the laws are racist –
that make the audience understand that there are thousands of other people
in your situation – that suggest ways of building your campaign.
Could a campaign harm your case?
The whole point of a campaign is to get the Home Office to allow
you to remain. However everything is a risk. So your campaign should constantly
discuss the legal and political implications of its actions. .
Being under threat of removal or
deportation is the worst situation you could be in. A strong campaign could
only make it better.
Campaigns are by definition
political. However, immigration laws are increasingly political. That is why
campaigns are needed.
Small, inactive, indecisive
campaigns can be counter-productive by showing the Home Office you only have
Making your campaign strong and
It is your campaign. Therefore nothing should be done without
- there is no use in having a weak campaign. There is no use in limiting the
campaign to small-scale activities. The real strength of a campaign can be
measured by the diversity of its activities and the number of people it
attracts to them.
The golden advice is to think
big in building the campaign and its events. The Home Office is very
powerful so the campaign needs to be effective in order to stop the
deportation or removal. Size matters!
The campaign needs to get
national and not just local support. So successful campaigns often require a
lot of travel in order to build support.
When to start a campaign
You need to talk with your legal representative (if you have
one), right at the start of preparing your case, about when you might start a
It is no use waiting to start a
campaign until after all the legal processes have been completed. This is
usually far too late to achieve victory. Campaigns need to start as soon as
It is difficult to decide
whether to have a campaign. However, there is no point in postponing the
decision. Delay is harmful. Time is crucial in fighting the Home Office.
Campaign written materials
All campaigns need basic materials. In particular:
Your campaign should produce a
standard leaflet which explains your case and asks for support.
This leaflet may need to be
translated into appropriate languages. It is easiest if all languages are on
the same leaflet.
Campaigns can last a long time.
So you will need easy-to-print leaflets – and lots of them. You have to make
sure leaflets are always available and you never run out of them.
The leaflet should ask people to
write personal letters to the Home Office supporting your case. Personally
written letters are treated more seriously by the Home Office than are
standard printed letters.
-all letters written to the Home Office should contain your Home Office
reference number, otherwise the Home Office will not know they are about
your case. Therefore the leaflet must contain your reference number and
supporters must be told to quote it in letters.
In addition to personal letters
the campaign can produce a postcard addressed to the Home Secretary, with
the campaign’s picture on the front and the campaign’s demands on the back.
Campaigns cost money! A bank
account may need to be opened in the name of the campaign. The campaign
leaflet and all campaign events must contain an appeal for money.
Fund-raising activities are a crucial part of the campaign and can also be
used to publicise the campaign.
The campaign may want to produce
a petition sheet which it can distribute locally and nationally.
It can also be useful to produce
large-size posters which can be displayed in buildings and on walls.
Using the internet and having a
campaign website can also increase publicity and keep supporters up to date
with what is happening
Several campaigns have produced
videos explaining the case, showing activities and encouraging support.
Maybe a local media group or media students could help in this.
– always include contact details on all material so that more people can
find out how to join in the activities.
As well as support from individuals you also need support from
organisations. Organisations should be asked to write to the Home Office.
Organisations should also be asked to circulate the campaign petition and to
send money to the campaign.
In the campaign leaflet, you
should ask organisations to invite a speaker from the campaign to one of
Letters asking for support
should be sent to black, women’s, refugee, community and trade union
Your campaign leaflet could be
updated sometimes to show a list of all supporting organisations.
Support from black, migrant and
Immigration and asylum laws affect black people, migrants and
immigrants. Therefore all campaigns need the active support of these communities
in this country, where this is possible.
Trade union support
Trade union support is important because trade unions have a
large membership. Also trade unions are supposed to be opposed to racism.
Support from as many unions as
possible should be sought at local, regional and national levels.
Support could also be sought
from trades councils – which are the combined bodies of unions locally.
It is useful for the campaign to
draw up and circulate a model resolution for use with trade unions.
Once any part of a trade union
organisation supports the campaign, it should be asked to circulate the
campaign material and seek union support at other levels.
If you yourself are a member of
a trade union, then the campaign should aim eventually to get your union to
support you at a national level. Your union should then try and ensure that
other unions, and the Trades Union Congress (of all unions), support your
case. If you are not already a member of a union then try and join one!
It is very helpful to get your
union and perhaps other unions to produce their own leaflet or poster in
support of your case. This could have more effect within the union than your
Support from children and their
Children are often the most vulnerable to immigration controls.
Their fears and their wishes must be respected. However children and their
schools have often been the most active in fighting deportations and winning
cases. For instance
In many cases schools have acted
as a community – of children, teachers, governors, parents – in defending
pupils under threat of deportations or removal.
The production of some campaign
material can be good fun for children – such as making badges and banners.
Where children are under threat of deportation it is best
practice to provide both professional local authority social services and
educational reports to the Home Office. This is in addition to personal letters
of support from the school and its teachers.
Your legal representative needs
to arrange these reports and to explain in detail what factors need to be
examined in them.
What must be shown is that
removal from the present school to a possible new school and removal away
from present friends would be drastically harmful both educationally and
These factors need to be proven
and not just asserted.
The harm caused by removal must
be shown to be drastic and not just minimal.
As well as written material it could be important to have large
public activities. Activities should be well organised with publicity in
appropriate languages starting well beforehand. If the publicity comes out too
late, then the event will only be small. Typical activities are:
Street meetings to publicise the
case and collect money.
Demonstration – you should try
and attract both local community support and national support for all
Pickets of the immigration
It is not easy to get publicity from newspapers, television or
As well as other
public activities, the campaign could therefore think of unusual activities
which could attract publicity.
where children are under threat of deportation, their school could organise a
public event involving all the children at the school and their parents – such
as going to London to present the petition.
Have a campaign
banner and always remember to take it to all events.
The campaign group
Experience has shown that for a campaign to work, there has to be
a strong campaign group which organises all activities. The group is where
decisions are discussed and made, and where tasks shared out. The group is also
where you can make sure that your instructions are put into practice.
The group should
meet regularly (preferably weekly) at the same place, on the same day, and at
the same time.
If meetings are
not held regularly, then people may not remember the dates and therefore won’t
In a successful
campaign the organising group should get bigger by attracting new supporters.
The campaign should all the time encourage this. Any organisation that supports
the campaign should be asked to ensure at least one of its members acts as a
link to the campaign, possibly by attending the campaign group.
Meetings should be
as open to all supporters and be as easy to attend as possible. Therefore make
sure you meet in a place which is very easy to find.
Don’t meet in a
place where some people may feel offended to come – for instance places where
there is alcohol.
The place, date
and time of group meetings could be given in the campaign leaflet (depending on
how safe the meeting place is).
groups have certain roles and ensure there are people who will fulfil these,
throughout the campaign. These include responsibilities for money, for preparing
and conducting the campaign meetings, for taking minutes, for replying to
letters, for publicising campaign activities, for making sure letters of support
are written and so on.
The only point for a campaign to exist is in order to win.
– group meetings are a place to plan activities, not just to talk! The
weakest campaigns are the ones that talk a lot and do little. The strongest
campaigns are the ones that talk little and do a lot!
– there is no point in making decisions which are not carried out! Whoever
agrees to do tasks must come to the next meeting to explain whether the
tasks have been done or send an update. Minutes of decisions should be taken
at all meetings and circulated well before the next meeting.
Using your lawyer/legal
It is very difficult to find competent and experienced lawyers
who understand not only the law but also the timing and effect of different
tactics. Do not trust lawyers (or community leaders) who promise you everything
is easy and they will sort it all out. Nothing in immigration law is easy.
It is absolutely essential that
the lawyer is clear from the start about the likely prospects of legal
success. Preferably, they need to be able to provide (however approximately)
some indication of how much longer you have to remain in the country before
the Home Office tries to deport or remove you. Unless you know this then the
campaign will be unclear what to do. You may be liable to detention and/or
removal at any time and the campaign needs to be prepared.
If you don’t have a legal
You may not have a lawyer because none may be available, or else
you may not be granted any, or any further, legal aid money.
Your campaign must look at the
reasons why you have no legal representation and decide what to do.
One thing it may decide is to
challenge through publicity and a picket the local office of the Legal
Services Commission for refusing financial help
Campaigns also need sometimes to
consider massive fund-raising drives to pay for a lawyer.
– trade union members are usually entitled to some form of legal help from
There are some common mistakes that need to be avoided in order
not to waste time. For instance -
It is important to involve your
Member of Parliament in your case. What she or he can do is ensure better
communication with the Home Office and also, sometimes, help temporarily
postpone any removal. However your MP has no power to force the Home Office
to let you stay permanently. They do not make the decision about your case.
They cannot make the Home Office change its mind – only you and the campaign
can do this.
If the Home Office (and the
courts) reject your case then your legal representative will at some stage
ask the Home Office to look at it again. However there is no point in asking
the Home Office simply to look at evidence they have already rejected. You
must provide new evidence or a new interpretation of old evidence or a new
angle on the case altogether.
Advice and support on how to set up an
anti-deportation campaign group
National Coalition of
NCADC has four offices – in Birmingham (0121 554 6947) , London (020 8808
6865) Manchester (0161 740 6504) , Middlesbrough (01642 226 260). Its main
address is in Manchester at 1 Delaunays Road, Crumpsall, Manchester M8 4QS
has a website at
Free and expert legal advice agencies
There are some (very few)
private solicitors who are good and can be trusted. In addition the following
offer free and expert help (telephone numbers follow names of organisation).
There are two specialised
agencies offering free advice and representation on all immigration, nationality
and asylum matters. One is Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit which
is one of the agencies that has produced this pamphlet (0161 740 7722). The
other is the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants based in London
(020 7251 8708). In London Asylum Aid also provides legal help in asylum
cases (020 7377 5123).
Most community law centres
provide advice and representation on immigration, nationality and asylum issues
(or else can recommend another agency which does).
Avon and Bristol
0117 916 7733 Barnet 020 8203 4141
Battersea : 020 7585
: 01274 306 617
: 020 8451
0161 272 0666
Cambridge House : 0207 703
: 020 7284 6510
: 02920 498117
: 01228 515 129
: 020 7839 2998 Chesterfield
: 01246 550 674
: 024 7622 3053
01332 344 557
01752 519 794
0208 807 8888
: 0191 478 2847
: 01452 423492
: 020 8305 3350
: 020 8985 8364
Hammersmith/ Fulham: 020 8741 4021
: 0113 249 1100
: 020 8561 9400
: 020 8570 9505 Humberside :
01482 211 180
Isle of Wight
: 01983 524715
: 020 7607 2461
020 7737 9780
: 028 9024 4401
(Western Area office)
: 028 7126 2433
0116 255 3781
: 020 8692 5355
: 0151 709 7222
01582 481 000
0191 230 4777
: 0161 205 5040
: 0115 978 7813
: 0161 627
: 020 8960 3155
: 020 8855 9817
: 01706 657766
Saltley & Nechells
: 0121 328 2307
: 0114 273 1888
: 0161 225 5111
: 020 7732 2008
: 020 8767 6884
: 0161 476 6336
01483 215 000
In addition to the above the government has established two
agencies to offer help. These are:
Refugee Legal Centre.
This is based in London but may take on cases nationally (020 7780 3200)
Immigration Advisory Service.
This deals with non-asylum cases. It has several offices – Birmingham (0121 616
3540), Cardiff (02920 496662), Glasgow (0141 248 2956), Hounslow (020 8814
1115), Leeds (0113 244 2460), Liverpool (0151 475 1628), London (020 7357 6917),
Manchester (0161 834 9942)
There also exists Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID).
BID is an independent agency which works with all those detained under
immigration laws to secure their release from prisons or removal centres. There
are 3 offices; London (020 7247 3590), Portsmouth –for Haslar centre (023 9229
1916), Oxford – for Campsfield centre (0845 330 4536
This leaflet has been produced by
No-One Is Illegal has produced a manifesto against controls in English, Spanish,
French and German. It is part of an international network of similar
organisations. It has a website at
www.noii.org.uk and can be contacted
Manchester No Borders Group.
No Borders is a political organisation opposed to all controls and supporting
everyone threatened by controls. It acts as an umbrella group for numerous
activities. It meets monthly. Website:
Bury Law Centre.
Bury Law Centre offers advice and representation on immigration, nationality and
asylum issues (as well as other law centre matters). Address is 19 Knowsley
Street, Bury, Lancashire BL9 0ST (0161.272 0666)
Manchester Immigration Aid Unit.
GMIAU provides legal advice and representation on all immigration, nationality
and asylum issues. Address 1 Delaunays Road , Crumpsall Manchester M8 4QS ,
(0161 740 7722)
Further copies of this leaflet can be downloaded from the No One
Is Illegal website at
In addition to this leaflet a larger manual against deportation
has been produced (“By any means necessary – how to build a public
anti-deportation campaign”). It is available from the National Coalition of