20 April 2018
Greens are supporting the campaign to end immigration detention after a local resident demanded the Council speak out against the practice.
The ‘These Walls Must Fall,’ proposal, which calls on the Government to find alternatives to indefinite detention, was backed by all parties on Brighton and Hove City Council. Figures estimate that over 30,000 people are locked up indefinitely in poorly maintained immigration detention centres for failing to have the correct immigration papers. The UK is the only country in Europe that does not have a maximum time limit on how long someone can be detained.
The Green Group of Councillors branded the practice of immigration detention ‘immoral and inhumane.’
Resident Siriol Hugh-Jones, who first challenged the Council to speak out against immigration detention in February 2018, said:
“People like to talk about ‘British values’ - but what are those values worth when we deliberately create a hostile environment for some of the most vulnerable members of the community while incarcerating others?
“As a fourth-generation immigrant myself, I believe that Britain is built on migration. Vikings, Normans, Russians and Eastern Europeans fleeing Communism, the Windrush generation invited to help rebuild Britain after World War II, South Asians and Ugandan Asians, and EU nationals: all have contributed their knowledge and skills to making Britain what it is today.
“So if we truly believe in British values let’s not waste money and lives detaining people in centres such as Yarl’s Wood and Brook House, but treat them fairly and hospitably, and to the benefit of this country.”
Greens have also spoken out against the ‘hostile environment for migrants’ promoted by the Conservative Government, which they say has contributed to the scandal of immigration detention.
Councillor Leo Littman, who helped to bring the proposal to full Council on behalf of the Greens, said:
“We live in a country where over 30,000 people, innocent of any crime, are locked up indefinitely, purely because they do not currently have the correct immigration papers. Not only is this immoral, it also costs the taxpayer £125m a year. That is the cost of Britain’s hostile environment for migrants.
“I am genuinely pleased all parties could agree to condemn this practice; the current system of detention is barbaric and breaches those human rights which Britain claims to uphold. We are a nation of immigrants, if you go back far enough. The current scandalous treatment of the Windrush generation and incarceration of asylum seekers shows we have not moved as far beyond the 1950s attitude of ‘no blacks, no dogs, no Irish’ as we had perhaps thought. The Green Party has and will always stand up for migrants.”