Right to Remain’s open letter to you

News

A new parliamentary political landscape will emerge soon in Britain. Right to Remain has published an open letter, not addressed to the winner of the General Election, but to you, to our own communities.


Since the General Election was announced, so much speculation, despair, hopes and wishes have been flying around non-stop. There will be new MPs. Some old faces might be replaced by new faces. Maybe there will be surprises. 

Lately, our society has been exposed to a number of compounding crises, and it’s no wonder people want a change to this nightmare scenario. 

So many demands are made of prospective candidates, urging them to pledge to sort out the mess we feel trapped in. The rising cost of living, the shortage of secure housing, NHS waiting time, sewage dumped into the sea by the water company, lack of progress in tackling climate breakdown, unending wars and conflicts – the list is endless. 

Likewise, our refugee and migrant communities and allies have made an astonishingly large number of demands for change on whoever will form the government. The sheer number of our demands reflect the depth of harm and grief that the UK’s Hostile Environment has inflicted upon us. Immigration detention is expanding, destitution is baked into our daily lives and migrant exploitation remains rampant. And during this election campaigning period, unfettered racism and anti-migrant narratives have also been unleashed, predictably. Their impact will linger on long after the election. 

To all those working for migration justice – we call on you to step up in demanding, campaigning and organising for migration justice in your local area and beyond. We call on you to work with each other and bring in new people to build a stronger and bigger migration justice movement. 

Regardless of the outcome of the General Election, it’s clear that we need radical solidarity for the migration justice movement more than ever. Even if the Illegal Migration Act is repealed, even if the Rwanda Plan is dropped, even if the Nationality and Borders Act is repealed, we are still left with the Hostile Environment for migrants. No major political party is pledging to end the Hostile Environment – our real work to influence them begins after the election. 

We have three requests to you: 

1. Use the Right to Remain Toolkit as a calling card to start educating and building connections with your MPs and their staff.

Remember many MPs deal with asylum and immigration queries from constituents, increasingly so because of the chronic shortage of legal aid advisors and lawyers. The Right to Remain Toolkit can increase their ability to handle constituents’ inquiries and better equip them to understand the demands and the issues raised by you. It is predicted that there will be many new MPs – they need the Toolkit, just like the 50,000 people who use it online every month. They also need you – you are the experts, because you have first hand knowledge of what harm this system does to our communities. Bring the MPs into our shared struggle for migration justice. 

2. Join one of our special Solidarity Sessions to discuss how to build power together, and how to bring new people, ideas and energy into the migration justice movement.

We will enter a new parliamentary political reality after the election. Right to Remain will be hosting a series of online and in-person Solidarity Sessions, to hold space for groups and campaigners to share information and analysis, build solidarity and plan together our next steps. Westminster exerts its power in a top-down, centralised way – but we need to build our solidarity and power rooted in our communities in an inclusive, bottom up way, to fight off divisions and secure meaningful change. We will have a collective breathing space on 9 July on Zoom, to check in with each other (book your place at the bottom of this page). And the first in-person Solidarity Sessions will be in Manchester on Thursday 18 July – stay tuned for more announcements. 

3. Continue to maintain our refugee and migrant communities’ survival and support mechanisms.

Our communities have been struggling for a long time and our resilience has been tested to its limit by this hostile immigration system. And to change the system, first we need to survive – we need food, shelter, kindness and compassion. Let’s mainstream migration justice in our communities so that everyone cares for each other regardless of their immigration status. This means we need to actively work with groups and people who are not specialising in asylum or immigration matters. And we should be united in our quest for justice and safety.  

Finally, we urge you to remember that parliamentary politics is not everything. The change of government is not a system change. There might be some tweaks and it will have different politicians’ faces on it, but this inherently exclusionary and racist, immigration system will continue to exist. With you, we will continue to build knowledge, build radical solidarity and build power in order to challenge and change the system, for a world where no one is illegal. 

In solidarity, as always,

Right to Remain team

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Please note Right to Remain cannot provide immigration legal advice that is specific to your individual asylum and immigration application.

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