SBS opposes immigration raid in Southall

| Friday, August 2nd, 2013 | 16 Comments »


On 1 August 2013, a UKBA immigration enforcement vehicle was parked near our office. We were having a support group meeting at the time with women who use our centre.

We were all so enraged by it that we emerged from our building and followed the vehicles around Southall shouting “this is racist”. Many of the women have escaped domestic violence and have felt trapped by their immigration status to stay in abusive marriages.

Despite their need for anonymity, they felt that this attack on their right to live here had to be resisted. The Van moved off our street.

We later intercepted the vans when they parked outside a local shopping centre. UKBA Immigration enforcement officers barricaded the doors so that they could carry out a raid on the workers inside.

We stood outside and encouraged members of the public to shame the racist immigration policies. We shouted in English, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and Amharic, a demonstration of Southall’s rich history of multiculturalism and diversity.

This is a racist and arbitrary action that threatens the very fibre of our community.

We have been contacted today by organisations from across the nation, many expressing their solidarity for the right not to be racially profiled and discriminated against.

We would like to thank everyone who showed their support, particularly members of the public handing out water yesterday to SBS and the service users who inspire us every day to take action.

Images & Videos credit: Navjot Kaur & Poonam


  1. Bilba says:

    Brilliant to see you on the news as I watched with my nephew and niece.
    We must speak up against this discrimination. You are amazing women and it is an honour to share this city of ours with you, built with the hands of immigrant people.
    From the east of London to Southall Black Sisters, Big thanks.

  2. […] Southall Black Sisters – Statement […]

  3. Tisca says:

    Living in ANY country without their permission is basically illegal. That is precisely the objective of UKBA to identify those who are illegally living in this country which is precisely their duty & well within their rights.

    Hence all this huss & fuss is absolutely unnecessary. If you are a legitimate citizen of this country, then there is no harm in answering to UKBA’s request. One should introspect before making any issue of this to understand why UKBA required to take this step. It is a well know fact which even the demonstrators in above video are aware of that many Indians (& people from other countries) have taken the disadvantage of UK policies & are living in this country illegally. It is these illegal residents who are threatening & abusing the UK systems & fully deserve the action.

    In India also there are thousands of illegal migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan etc that are living in India who are abusing the Indian systems. The Indians there demand for removing those illegal migrants who are posing threats to the security & ironically they (the illegal ones)expect UK to allow themselves to live in their country illegally. This applies not only to Indians but for any illegal migrant in general.

    There is no question of racism here. It is the clear case of legal & illegal citizens of this country. Whichever country you live in, the rules & regulations must be followed. If you are not happy with it, then please get back to your respective native country. Don’t make UK an India.

    UKBA has never said that they will throw the legitimate citizens of this country. They are only targeting the illegal citizens. By opposing this country cleaning exercise we are sheltering the illegal migrants in this country irrespective of any race / community which will be a big security threat to this country. If UKBA is targeting certain areas, it is because those areas are the hideouts of illegal migrants & not because they are targeting any specific community. If we are a legal & true citizens of this country, then it is our responsibility to support the UKBA’s move to keep UK clean & safe. Its only matter of thinking it positively.

    • Shakila says:

      Undocumented migrants enter this country for a number of reasons such seeking asylum, trafficking, domestic violence and in a small number of cases escaping poverty and destitution. Britain holds a beacon to the world for those seeking Asylum or refuge; but let’s face some facts here – illegal white immigrants from Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and America are in the UK in larger numbers than those from the Indian sub-continent and Africa. BUT these white illegals are not hounded and criminalised by the UKBA thugs and henchmen of Cameron, Johnson and May! This is clearly a case of racial profiling and a way for the gang of three (Cameron, Johnson, May) to win the votes of those who have joined UKIP. Please don’t fall into this trap! According to a BBC report, the method used to glean immigration statistics was designed in the early 1960s primarily to examine tourism trends and is based on “random interviews” with travellers both arriving and departing at ports and airports. Not a very exact and scientific method of measuring immigration would you say? Or is that okay for you to accept as long as this tactic appeals to you and fits in with what the government are up to? I am a British citizen of South Asian origin – I too can be mistaken for a poor undocumented migrant! Can you guarantee that I won’t be next? And why should I have to prove my status? Is that a reserve of white people only? Is this a free and democratic country that I am so proud to call my home or has this become some awful totalitarian state?

  4. Bilba says:

    This is exactly the kind of fear based propaganda we are facing.
    They have not only targeting illegal immigrants.
    They have harassed British born Black & Asian, Polish people.
    Britain was in India for around 400 years illegally, the law is not always right and can be used wrongly against vulnerable people. If people don’t speak up we will become like South Africa during apartheid, people will have to carry identity papers and be stopped.
    I support the work of the Southall Black Sisters, they are positive light.

  5. pip says:

    Why’s it racist to deport someone who isn’t in the UK legally? I think you mean they are xenophobic?

    • Shakila says:

      Yes! Precisely it is xenophobic – when we needed the workforce, we didn’t object but used the cheap labour that came along with undocumented migrants – now we don’t want them or need their labour, the government is resorting to these tactics playing to market forces without looking at the human cost.

  6. pbtrinovan says:

    Speaking to the person next to you through a loud hailer is the height of rudeness. This group of women come across as aggressive and belligerent and have done very little to promote SBS in a positive light. I am saddened that the important work SBS does has been sullied by this rather distasteful spectacle -and by the look of it the majority of the country feel the same way.

    • sandhya says:

      When the UKBA drive around in vans in predominantly BME areas telling people to “Go Home” and when they hound people from minority communities over and over again, conduct raids in their areas, spread fear amongst people under the guise of tackling illegal immigration, it is clear that they are definitely not listening. Sometimes it takes a loudspeaker to convey the anger and resistance of people. It is a shame you have felt saddened because I have been inspired by the action SBS took and i know many who feel the same – they have shown, in their own unique and committed way, a leadership that we so need at the moment, one from the grassroots and one that is not afraid to highlight injustice.

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