Way To Glas-Go, Glasgow!
As a reminder that not everybody in the world is awful, hundreds of people in Glasgow, Scotland, swarmed into the street Thursday to block the removal of two men who'd been seized for "suspected immigration offences." The protesters surrounded a van from UK Immigration Enforcement and kept it from driving away with the two Indian nationals. One protester managed to wedge himself under the van, even. After an hours-long standoff in which the crowd chanted "these are our neighbours, let them go" (you could hear the Anglicized spelling), the men were finally released from the van and waved to the crowd. Here, have a Twitter video!
Protesters in Glasgow have successfully halted the deportation of two members of their community by UK Immigration… https://t.co/zzcatoNepA— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE)1620925273.0
The early-morning immigration raid angered many, particularly since it happened during Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. You've got to bet the Home Office assholes who planned the raid for yesterday knew exactly what day it was, if you'll forgive our assumption that immigration cops in the UK are just as awful as those in the US of A.
Once they were released, the two men were accompanied by members of the crowd to a local mosque.
Pinar Aksu, of Maryhill Integration Network said: "They messed with the wrong city."
One of the men, Lakhvir Singh, 34, from India, spoke to the PA news agency through a translator.
He said: "I've been astonished and overwhelmed by the support I've received from the people of Glasgow.
"At around 9.30am immigration enforcement carried out a raid and we were taken to security in the van.
"There were only five or six people at the time but word spread and then there were crowds of hundreds.
"We are so grateful for the support."
Here, have another video of cheering people, from Nadia Whittome, who at the age of 24 is the youngest member of the UK Parliament.
This is what solidarity looks like. When the Home Office carried out an immigration raid on two Muslim men during… https://t.co/xsDAHMEnPO— Nadia Whittome MP (@Nadia Whittome MP)1620938862.0
If you want to smilecry some today, just search "Glasgow" on Twitter.
There's also a lot of tension between the UK government and Scotland wrapped up in the local reaction to the raid. The Guardian notes that the Scottish government "has argued strongly for Scotland to have control over its own immigration policy, not least because of the country's unique depopulation pressures," but that UK immigration policy, including decisions about enforcement and deportations, remains with the UK government. To make matters worse, the UK is considering a new immigration law that will be even tougher on asylum-seekers — about which more in a moment
Also, this paragraph on new Members of the Scottish Parliament makes me want to go to there:
The protests took place as new MSPs were sworn in to what has been described as Holyrood's most diverse ever parliament, taking their oaths in British Sign Language, Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi, Doric, Scots, Gaelic, Welsh and Orcadian, and after an election in which refugees had voting rights for the first time in Scotland.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who's also the MSP for the part of Glasgow where the raid occurred (we can't believe that's a coincidence!), was happy about the outcome, but not about the raid itself. She tweeted,
"I am proud to represent a constituency and lead a country that welcomes and shows support to asylum seekers and refugees." [...]
Condemning the Home Office action, Sturgeon added: "To act in this way, in the heart of a Muslim community as they celebrated Eid, and in an area experiencing a Covid outbreak was a health and safety risk.
"Both as MSP and as FM, I will be demanding assurances from the UK government that they will never again create, through their actions, such a dangerous situation."
And of course, the Home Office sounded very Trumpy about the whole thing; a spokescop said the UK government
is tackling illegal immigration and the harm it causes, often to the most vulnerable people, by removing those with no right to be in the UK. The operation in Glasgow was conducted in relation to suspected immigration offences and the two Indian nationals complied with officers at all times."
But here's the thing that makes us grin a little. That sort of talk is met a lot more skeptically, at least in many corners, than it is here. I was pleasantly surprised by the strategic use of scare quotes in this analysis by BBC Scotland social affairs correspondent Chris Clements, who writes,
The Home Office has just ended its consultation on its New Plan for Immigration - a policy that will speed up deportations for those who have entered the country 'illegally'.
Those in such a position will not be able to claim asylum and will instead be granted 'temporary protection', a status that would come under periodic review.
We can't imagine many American journalists would put skeptical quotation marks around the very idea that asylum seekers are in the country "illegally." Go, Scotland.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.