Asylum seekers protest against shameful Jomast housing conditions in Tyneside

Two to a room, bedbugs, broken cookers, leaking roofs ... these are all common problems facing Jomast tenants across Tyneside. Under the Home Office Compass contracts, the self-titled ‘urban regeneration specialists’ are subcontracted by notorious security company G4S to house asylum seekers. In sharp contrast to these squalid conditions, Jomast director Stuart Monk has bagged personal wealth of around £175m and is one of the richest men in the north east.

On 23 March FRFI supporters joined the Migration and Asylum Justice Forum (MAJF) to protest at Jomast’s offices, situated in their luxury urban living and leisure development ‘Jesmond three sixty’, where plush two-bedroom apartments are let for £1,275 a month.

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British state racism ‘the hostile environment’

britains racist imigration laws

The first months of 2017 have seen an intensification of the ‘hostile environment’ for migrants in Britain, as new measures are passed and previously announced policies take effect. From April new immigration checks will be introduced in hospitals, part of the package of measures introduced following the 2014 and 2016 Immigration Acts. Checks also now operate in areas of everyday life, including private rented housing, employment, banking, and traffic enforcement. A further Immigration Bill is planned later this year. Refugees and migrants are under attack and there is an urgent need to organise and resist. Tom Vickers reports.

Children and families under attack

In February, Ministers capped the number of child refugees to be accepted under the ‘Dubs amendment’ at 350, and introduced a new rule that only those who arrived in Europe before 20 March 2016 would qualify for one of the remaining 150 places. The open racism of the Conservative government has reached the point at which even a tiny number of children are seen as a threat.

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The Asylum Market - film on G4S and asylum housing pulled by BBC

This short film, made by Brass Moustache Films, is a powerful insight into the housing situation asylum seekers in Britain are forced into, and the role of G4S. It was due to be shown on the BBC on the Victoria Derbyshire show on the morning of 31 January 2017 but was pulled at short notice apparently due to G4S pressure. We are publishing this on our website to ensure as many people as possible can see some of the reality of life as an asylum seeker in Britain, in spite of any attempts to prevent this.

Fight Britain's racist immigration laws! Freedom for migrants! Justice for refugees!

Casey Review: nationalist assimilation

 

In December 2016 the government published the Casey Review into ‘integration and opportunity’, commissioned a year before by David Cameron. The review was led and authored by Dame Louise Casey, formerly the ‘homelessness tsar’, who told people not to give money to homeless people, and now the ‘integration tsar’. Casey also oversaw the 'Troubled Families' programme that followed the uprisings in 2011, and which shifted the blame for police racism, poverty and cuts onto the supposed moral failings of working class families. She has done the same with this review -  blaming Muslims and particularly those of Pakistani and Bangladeshi descent for the inequalities they face and for a whole range of other social problems.

Casey defines integration as ‘the extent to which people from all backgrounds can get on – with each other, and in enjoying and respecting the benefits that the United Kingdom has to offer’. ‘Anti-Western’ attitudes and a lack of nationalist identification with Britain are of particular concern to Casey - in other words, 'integration' means the extent to which all parts of the British population buy into ‘Fortress Britain’ and can be relied upon to stand with the ruling class against the workers of other countries. When questioned, Casey explicitly rejected the idea that integration is a two-way street – instead she said it is a motorway where everybody is moving in the same direction at speed and newcomers need to rapidly learn to follow suit.

Casey is keen to explain inequalities and a whole range of issues – particularly oppression of women and child abuse – as the result of cultural difference. The review expresses concern at the number of Pakistani British people marrying new migrants from Pakistan, and suggests this is reducing levels of spoken English, undermining integration and fostering regressive social attitudes. The idea that ongoing migration undermines integration reflects the assimilationist perspective of the review, reminiscent of the Labour government under Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The review also suggests that oppression of women has been ignored ‘in some communities’ because of a fear of being accused of being racist – falsely suggesting that oppression of women is particular to some minority groups.

The recommendations of the review follow its nationalist and assimilationist perspective: more teaching of ‘British values’ in schools, a requirement for immigrants to take an ‘integration oath’, more focus on the English language, and on ‘women’s emancipation in communities where they are being held back by regressive cultural practices’.

The review argues that given a growing population that is increasingly ethnically diverse (although still 82% White British) and less Christian than previously (although still 58.8%), ‘it is not surprising that many communities are feeling the impact of immigration to a greater extent and that this is playing out in wider public attitudes towards immigration’. This excuses racism as a ‘natural’ response to immigration, covering up the role of the state in provoking racism and justifying increasing restrictions as a necessary response to the concerns of the electorate. It also covers up the rise of precarious work and cuts in state support that are the real foundation of many people’s anxiety. The lack of resources for local authorities with rapidly changing populations does get a mention, but the main emphasis is on a large concentration of migrants putting pressure on public services.

The review notes that 34% of all statutory homelessness acceptances in 2015/16 were ethnic minority families, up from 25% in 2008/9, and 18% of homelessness acceptances were foreign nationals. 36.8% of recorded rough sleepers in London were from Eastern and Central European countries in 2015/16, up from 6% in 2005/6. The main concern of the review is not the impact of homelessness on these groups, but the demand this places on public services. When considering the impact on education a submission from the Department for Education is dismissed as ‘inconclusive’ although it suggests multiple ways in which migration may benefit the educational process, and states that any differences in education attainment associated with migration appear to level out by age 16.

Tom Vickers

Calais migrant camp razed

The operation to clear and demolish the ‘Jungle’ camp situated near to the French port of Calais began on 24 October 2016. Hundreds of people were herded towards the warehouse where processing was to take place. They were not told where they would be sent and went because they had been threatened with deportation if they failed to co-operate. Before dawn, the CRS (riot police) closed the gate out of the camp and kettled hundreds of youths, forcing them to sit on a muddy bank. Police vans and fire engines were positioned around the perimeter to control and threaten the queuing people, who were separated into four queues (adults, families, unaccompanied children and ‘vulnerable’ people) and assigned a wristband. Across the three-day operation the CRS attacked teenagers and deliberately destroyed their wristbands, meaning that they would be treated as unprocessed adults. The State of Emergency (see ‘France – secularism becomes racism’ on our website) was used to impose a ban on entry to the camp during the operation. ID checks on anyone suspected of being a migrant were carried out at the train station and in the park in front of the town hall.

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