In Solidarity with Migrant Sisters
Monday, July 18, 2016
Sisters Uncut North London stands in solidarity with all our migrant sisters. We stand against all racism and xenophobia. We stand against Islamophobia, and the racialised way it targets our Muslim sisters of colour. We stand against borders.
We commit to unite with our migrant sisters against the vicious racist, sexist cuts imposed on us by the Tory government. We commit to organise in solidarity with our migrant sisters against the ongoing attacks on all of us. We will fight and we will win.
The misery and struggle we currently face in this country are a result of austerity. They are a result of the Tory government’s ideological decision to cut funding to vital public services, from housing to domestic violence support. They are a result of the Tory government choosing to sell off public assets to line the pockets of the already-rich. They are not a result of immigration.
We feel that now is the time to make this statement; after the vicious spike of racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic violence during and since the EU referendum campaign. The ‘Out’ campaign chose to blame migrants for the economic crises affecting so many people in this country. The vote for Brexit has emboldened racists, who now believe their vile views are justified. We will not tolerate this racist violence. We stand in solidarity with all migrants, all Muslims and all people of colour in this country who are facing fear and uncertainty about their safety and their futures.
Theresa May is now our Prime Minister. She falsely claimed that migration creates unemployment and undercuts the wages of low-paid workers. May sent racist “Go Home” vans out into neighbourhoods to warn migrants that they are not welcome, and remind sisters needing to flee violence that the Tory Government will not keep them safe. May illegally deported 48,000 students, and presided over the systematic abuse and violence of the UK immigration detention system. We stand against her violence. We stand against her racism.
Racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia have been part of the mainstream political narrative for a long time, as a tactic of divide and rule to distract people from the real culprits: the Conservative government. It is the government who close down our refuges. It is the government who refuse to provide affordable housing. It is the government who have cut thousands of jobs. Migrants have not caused these crises. These crises are a result of the Tory decision to impose austerity on us.
The Tories, with Theresa May as Home Secretary, have purposefully created a “hostile environment” for migrants in this country. That is the explicitly stated intention of the Immigration Bill 2014, which forces landlords, GPs and university professors to act as border police. This racism and xenophobia, hand-in-hand with cuts, make it more difficult for women and non-binary people to flee domestic violence.
Migrant women are already at much higher risk of domestic violence and domestic homicide than other groups, and cuts to specialist services make it harder for them to flee. Specialist services can be offered in other languages, and can reach out to communities, meaning that our sisters can access their services. When those services are cut, that support is gone.
Many sisters seek refuge in the UK from gendered violence in their home countries, such as domestic violence and “corrective rape”. Yet when they arrive in the UK seeking safety and support, the state locks them up in detention centres such as Yarl’s Wood. Indefinite detention is not only costly and ineffective it forces migrant sisters into limitless time in abusive and oppressive prison-like detention. The money used to detain and deport migrants should be used to provide safe housing for those fleeing violence, regardless of immigration status.
The government denies safe housing to women and non-binary people with insecure immigration status seeking to flee domestic violence. If sisters have ‘no recourse to public funds,’ they are denied access social housing or welfare. This includes emergency refuge spaces for those fleeing life threatening homes or relationships. This means that migrant women and non-binary people must rent privately, but ‘right to rent’ forces private landlords and agents to carry out immigration checks. Our sisters will be unable to flee if they have insecure immigration statuses; or if they have fled without their immigration documentation, which perpetrators may hold onto as a means of control.
No sister is illegal. Safety is a right, not a privilege. Those fleeing domestic violence need access to support and protection, not more violence and persecution. We demand that safe housing is extended to those without recourse to public funds. Access to justice cannot become a luxury and it should not depend on immigration status.
North London Sisters Uncut stands united with our migrant sisters against the vicious racist, sexist cuts imposed on us by the Tory government. We are united against the racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia that is rising in our society. We will actively organise in solidarity with our migrant sisters against the ongoing attacks on all of us.
We must love and support one another. We have nothing to lose but our chains.