Challenging Anti-Immigration Campaigns

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2014 National Black Members' Conference
11 September 2013

Conference notes with concern the decision by the Home Office and the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) to trial the use of vans with the slogans “Here illegally? Go home or face arrest.” This slogan, with its echoes of the National Front in the 1970s and 1980s will alarm several Black workers and residents. The further spot checks at Underground stations by UKBA officials appeared to use ethnic profiling and was widely criticised including by Doreen Lawrence. Even Nigel Farage, United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader criticised the initiative as “nasty”.

Conference deplores the intent behind the campaign and the wording it utilised. Conference welcomes the counter campaign by Liberty and the moves by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to look at whether it failed under the Equality Act 2010.

Conference further notes that in the build up to the local and European elections in 2014 and the general election in 2015, politicians will continue to use immigration as a political football.

Conference calls on the National Black Members’ Committee to:

1)Continue to take concerted action to challenge racism and xenophobia

2)Approach the NEC and seek to develop a union-wide strategy to respond to any anti-immigration campaigns perpetuated by politicians and the media

3)Highlight the positive impact that migrant workers have had to the UK within UNISON publications such as eFocus or Black Action and consider whether money could be sought from the General Political Fund to support a wider campaign.