The Unity Centre supports many people in immigration detention, in many diverse situations. The Immigration Detention system is supposed to be like a holding system for people who will “imminently” be removed or deported. In theory, this means that people should only enter the detention system if their case is completely exhausted and the Home Office are ready to book them onto a flight to their country of origin. This is seldom the case – many people are issued tickets whilst they have an open case, when their lawyer is on holiday, or whilst waiting for some vital document. Worse still, many people are kept in detention for many months and often years, often moved between many centres, while the Home Office figure out what to do with them. Casework and para-legal/legal work on someone’s case can only go so far when the Home Office have decided to give them a ticket. This is where you can help. Action from members of the public has historically been effective in stopping many people’s fights.
When someone is due to be “removed”, and with their full consent, the Unity Centre often makes Urgent Action Appeals for people in detention. These are appeals to the public to take action in attempting to persuade the airline to refuse to participate in a forced removal. These appeals are about trying to maximise a) public shaming on these private companies (eg., British Airways or Kenyan Airways) who are profiting from forced removal and b) the accountability of their workers, and trying to persuade someone in the company to intervene. Find out more about phoning an airline to protest here.