The Home Office a few weeks ago: “There will be no hiding place”.
The Home Office last week: “GO HOME OR FACE ARREST”
Border Agency in London today: Papers please.
A tale set three years ago:
So I was sitting on the bus going through E & C, and it got stopped by transport police (they always stop it in poorer neighbourhoods)
The Police officer gets on and starts asking everyone for their tickets or oyster cards – so far, so usual
But there is a big van parked up on the pavement by the bus stop and instead of issuing fines they start asking for ID’s, for ‘Papers’
‘Papers’ is not a term normally used in that context. My Oyster was in the bottom of my bag somewhere, so as I struggled to find it….
…the officer then asked me for my ‘papers’ and then in Spanish ‘papeles’ – I already knew what was happening but this was the clincher
I’d been racially profiled as Latin American (which I am) & the phrase ‘sin papeles’ – ‘without papers/illegal’ was what he meant
Looked up from my bag (I’d just found my UK passport in there – I was born here) and said ‘What?!! You’re racially profiling me aren’t you?’
‘This is my BRITISH passport. I was born here. Here is my Oyster card too. I want your ID number, I’m going to make a complaint’…
The dude looked me in the eye, went a strange grey shade, turned his heel and got off the bus..
I was late going somewhere so I didn’t have time to chase after him but as I looked out of the bus window…
..I saw the people they’d already taken off the bus for not having their tickets/oysters being loaded into the parked van
Black & Brown faces stared back at me with expressions of hopelessness – I felt sick, but what could I do?
This didn’t happen last week, month or even year. This was nearly 3 years ago
I’ve spoken to others and they say it’s often in the early mornings when the many foreign workers who clean our offices are going to work
This ISN’T new but it does seem to me to be becoming more blatant. Today in Kensal Green they didn’t even pretend it was abt smth else
In the end I didn’t report the officer – in a neighbourhood where the police racially profile us everyday, who was going to listen?
We are not paranoid, we’re not ‘playing the race card’, we do not have a ‘chip on our shoulder(s)’ – this is real & it’s only getting worse
(Copied from tweets by @SandiaElectrica)
The Guardian, November 2011: UK Border Agency officials ‘illegally targeting’ bus passengers
I suggest you aquaint yourself with the Warning signs of fascism.