A UK immigration charity has said that it is considering legal action against the Home Office for ‘casting aspersions’ on two Indian nationals detained as illegal immigrants in Glasgow, according to a report published by The Independent. Lakhvir Singh and Sumit Sehdev were released from Border Force detention after crowds swarmed a van in which they were held.
The protestors stopped the UK immigration van from leaving the Pollokshields area of the city for several hours on 13 May, with one demonstrator even resorting to lying under the van to prevent it from driving away. The two men were eventually released on the grounds of public safety.
Now, the charity Positive Action in Housing, is weighing up whether to take legal action against the Home Office. The charity’s director, Robina Qureshi, said: “The Home Office have referred to these men as illegal. Well they are wrong, and we are now investigating legal action against the Home Office for casting such aspersions.”
“The term ‘illegal’ in this context is part of the hostile environment. It’s not appropriate to use it for people who have lived in the UK for several years and are part of a community,” Qureshi added.
Mr Sehdev and Mr Singh, both in their thirties and working as a mechanic and a chef respectively are regarded as highly respected members of their local community.
Qureshi said: “Dawn raid vans have no place going into communities dragging innocent people from their homes. They are not, categorically not, criminals.”
The Home Office has not yet responded to the news of potential legal action following the raid last week.
However, shortly after the men were freed, a spokesperson for the Home Office said: “The UK government is tackling illegal immigration and the harm it causes, often to the most vulnerable people, by removing those with no right to be in the UK.”
Suspected UK immigration offences
The spokesperson added: “The operation in Glasgow was conducted in relation to suspected UK immigration offences and the two Indian nationals complied with officers at all times. The UK government continues to tackle illegal migration in all its forms and our New Plan for Immigration will speed up the removal of those who have entered the UK illegally.”
However, Scotland’s Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, described the detention of the two men as a ‘reckless action’, while the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, blasted the UK government’s ‘appalling asylum and UK immigration policy’.
How events unfolded
The events of the morning of 13 May unfolded as UK Immigration Enforcement officers targeted a residence in Pollokshields during the Muslim celebration of Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan.
By mid-morning, around 200 protesters had swarmed an immigration vehicle to stop it from driving away. The crowd was reportedly chanting “these are our neighbours, let them go.”
This was the second dawn raid within a month in Glasgow and has been viewed as an escalation of the UK government’s hostile environment policy.
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