The UK Border Agency has admitted it is carrying out stop and checks at train stations on people they think might be in the UK without a visa. They claim it’s not racist; one witness to it described it as akin to “Nazi Germany”.
So, this ‘solidarity card’ from the Anti-Raids Network is useful information for anyone with a heart: it gives clear info on what UK border agency staff (they are NOT police, and have much less power) are allowed to do when hunting down people anywhere away from the border.
They can basically do nothing, unless the person being questioned cooperates – people are under NO OBLIGATION to talk to these uniforms. They are relying on people’s ignorance of their rights, not realising that they can walk away at any time.
Check out the excellent blog post https://network23.org/antiraids/for-supporters/ for more information. They also have great Know Your Rights info in many different languages. We need to get this information out as far and wide as possible. If you see someone being stopped by UKBA and you have no visa worries of your own, please show some human kindness and inform the person being questioned of their rights. Stay calm and tell the UKBA you know the law, as do they.
If necessary you can refer to the UKBA’s own guidance [PDF] – specifically Chapter 31, part 19.5, which states:
31.19.5 Before seeking to question any person about their identity and leave status, the IO [immigration officer] must:
- identify themselves both verbally and by producing their warrant card
- explain the reason for questioning the individual
- advise the person they are seeking to question that they are not obliged to answer any questions
- advise the person that they are not under arrest and are free to leave at any time.
Spread the word!