Most people who are waiting for a final decision on their asylum or immigration application to live in the UK can be required to regularly travel to “sign on” at an Immigration Reporting Centre or the police, but campaigners say every appointment carries the risk of being randomly taken to a detention centre.
Campaigners say these conditions amount to unfair, unjust and unnecessary harassment of migrants, and are calling for it to stop.
On July 15, campaigners will be outside Leeds Home Office reporting centre to send a message that they have had enough.
In March this year, they held an event to launch a campaign against mandatory immigration reporting, which more than 180 people attended, from all across the country.
They are having the first of what they hope will be a series of co-ordinated events, focusing on all reporting centres and the reporting system in the UK.
A letter outlining their views will be handed in at the Home Office as part of a day of action this Thursday. Campaigners will gather outside the building at about 12 noon, before staging a lunchtime ‘noise protest’ a peaceful demonstration from 3pm to 7pm.
The letter, written by asylum seekers and other affected migrants, will be presented at 4pm, followed by the main demo.
Protesters are demonstrating against home secretary Priti Patel’s proposed new plan for immigration and the long-standing policy of mandatory immigration reporting, which requires people to attend regular appointments and opponents say leads to significant stress and anxiety.
They are also calling for an end to the use of immigration raids vans in the city, which they describe as ‘simply a form of intimidation’.
Veecca Smith Uka, organiser of These Walls Must Fall, West Yorkshire, said: “I feel very passionate about this campaign because I have firsthand experience in this, I think of when I walked through the day every two weeks to go to London Bridge and the Leeds Kirkstall office, even the police station in Leeds for five years. For reporting, my life is halved by two each time, my children can’t go to school that day as I can’t afford child care and I have no hope of coming back, neither did I know what will happen to my children.
“A lot of my friends are taken each week into detention and deportation to the very place they fled for their lives. Many of them died. It is torturing, and the anxiety and stress - I can’t echo it enough, I join forces with others to say no to mandatory reporting.
“We have joined forces with These Walls Must Fall and other campaigners, as a collective, to call for the Home Office to abolish reporting. The reporting conditions are part of the hostile environment and amount to unfair, unjust, and unnecessary harassment of migrants. We call for an end to reporting for people seeking asylum and other migrants. The upcoming protest in Leeds is part of national action.”