Right to Remain has put together this simple blog against the backdrop of an increasingly violent and Hostile Environment towards migrants in the UK. This is particularly important in light of the recently passed Safety of Rwanda Act, and reports that the Home Office is increasing efforts to detain people at risk of removal to Rwanda or who are reporting at Home Office reporting centres. 

What is an immigration raid?

Raids are a tactic used by the Home Office to detain migrants in the UK, to make them feel unwelcome, and to spread fear in the surrounding communities. Raids are a physical embodiment of the UK’s Hostile Environment policy towards migrants in the UK.

The Home Office has 19 ‘raid squads’ across the country. These squads are officially called Immigration Compliance and Enforcement (ICE) teams. They carry out daily raids, beginning in the early hours of the morning to catch people when they are still sleeping. In recent years, raids on workplaces have been ramped up to crack down on alleged “illegal working”. 

As the Migrants’ Rights Network say

“Immigration raids are one of the main ways the State intimidates migrant communities and People of Colour. They are a mechanism to implement and enforce borders in everyday life, while turning all of us into immigration enforcement. They create an atmosphere of fear and we will not rest until they stop.”

As terrifying as raids are, time and time again community action has shown us that they are not unstoppable. It is incredible what can happen when we stand together in solidarity and with a thorough understanding of our rights.

You can read more about immigration raids on the Anti Raids Network website below. 

What are your rights during an immigration raid?

If an ICE team comes to your home or work:

  • You do NOT have to answer any questions.
  • You do NOT have to let them in. They can only enter with your consent (this means permission), a warrant (this means permission from police), or assistant director’s letter, unless the business is licensed to sell alcohol/late-night food and drink.
  • Try to LEAVE if you are not under arrest.

Thank you to the Anti Raids Network for this information, the below flyers, and all the work that they do.

What can you do if you see an immigration raid?

If you see a raid, and you are able to assist, you can do the following:

  • Make sure people know that they do not have to answer questions and can leave
  • If they do want to leave, walk away with them 
  • Film immigration officers and police. If someone is being detained, check with them first, or only film the officers.
  • Interact with the officers. Ask why these specific people are being questioned.
  • SPREAD THE WORD. Tell people around you what’s happening, call your friends, contact your local anti-raids group, tweet to @AntiRaids to get the word out to a wider audience.

If someone is detained, share the contact details of detention organisations.

To call Bail for Immigration Detainees: 02074569750
To call SOAS Detainee Support: 07438407570
To call Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group: 01293657070
To call Detention Action: 08005872096

There are Anti Raids groups in: 

Many local communities coordinate smaller action groups, too.