campaigners gathered in Liverpool behind the big orange banner

In a blog post for Pluto Press, Agatha Sibanda explains why she is campaigning with These Walls Must Fall in Merseyside.

Whether you come to England as a nurse, as a student, as a doctor, as a teacher – as long as you’re an immigrant, you are liable to detention. Your life is dependent on a computer or a Home Office official, and you’re living each day waiting to see what will happen to you tomorrow, with no future plans, with no goals. Everything seems to die, when I think of detention.

Every month I have to go and sign at the Home Office, as do ten of thousands of others who are waiting the outcome of their asylum or immigration claim. And because I’ve been refused and am on an appeal, I get panic attacks, anxiety, every month when I go and report. Because at each visit, I could be detained. I always have to take a friend of mine, and I always have to have a spare key given to someone, just in case I get detained. It is a fear because I have never been in prison in my life. I’ve tried to be a good citizen, or a good resident, everywhere I’ve been. To follow the law, to abide by all rules. And it really freaks me out to know that I could be going to sign today or tomorrow, and that could be it, I’d be going to detention, like I’ve done something wrong. I fled my country because I was scared of being put into jail. And the thought that I am here and am liable to be put in a cell as good as jail – or even worse than jail – it scares me.

I feel for those that I know are taken on a daily basis. I feel for the families that are torn apart, because not only does it affect me or the person being detained, it affects the family. As a human, knowing that you’ve got a son, or a daughter, or a sister, or a cousin, or a father, uncle, aunt – someone close to you, someone that you love – and that person is taken away from you, and put into detention, just because the system says – it hurts. It really hurts so bad.

I feel that it is unnecessary for people to be detaining humans, detaining families, detaining a person that’s just like you.

There’s no difference: we’ve got minds, we’ve got goals, we’ve got ambitions, we want to live a life, we want to be free, we want to succeed, we want to be successful, we want to be rich, we want to be educated, we want everything that you want. But why I am the one that is supposed to suffer whereas you are the one with the key?  Immigration detention should end now.