The Coalition government has stepped up its policies which effectively put pressure on non EEA immigrants – whether legally in the UK or not. In doing so it has stigmatized even established immigrant communities.
One such policy is an increase in spot checks carried out by the UK Border Force looking for so-called illegal immigrants. These are often done in tube stations, at bus stops, by carrying out raids in shops, restaurants and places where immigrant communities mostly congregate.
If you see an immigration officer, don’t panic, remember we are all only human and we all have human rights (whatever our immigration status).
What you need to know:
• You are not under arrest just because the police or Immigration stop you.
• You do not have to answer any of their questions.
• If what you say won’t help you then don’t say anything at all.
• You can refuse to stop and you can just keep walking.
What the law says:
• Immigration officers (and the police) must identify themselves and show a warrant card.
• They must tell you why they are questioning you.
• They must tell you that you do not have to answer their questions.
• They must advise you that you are not under arrest and that you are free to go at any time
If you do get detained or need further advice on your immigration status then speak to an Immigration Solicitor/specialist organisation or call Toussaints Solicitors 0121 523 5050 (nationwide).
By Rachel Toussaint LLB (Hons) Consultant Solicitor & Human Rights Advocate (www.racheltoussaint.wordpress.com) in partnership with BARAC Birmingham.