Barnardo's collude in jailing migrant children

Submitted by Matthew on 21 September, 2011 - 1:03

What is Pre-Departure Accommodation? It’s a detention centre. The 2.5m palisade fence with electronic gates surrounding the site and the 24-hour security leaves you in no doubt that this is a prison. A prison for migrants.

Cesar’s detention centre gives lie to the Government’s claim that children won’t be detained. It’s run by G4S and Barnardos and opened this month.

Who benefits from the centre? The landowner who rents the land to the UKBA. G4S, the security firm responsible for the death of Jimmy Mubenga, whose chief executive, Nick Buckles, is paid almost £5,000 a day. And Barnado’s, Britain’s biggest children’s charity.

Barnado’s have given a veneer of “respectability” to the project, by agreeing to provide “key welfare, safeguarding and support services for families”. No doubt receiving a healthy sum from the government for this service.

According to Helen Crawley of the Migrant Rights Network, the Government has effectively created spaces for up to 4,445 children to be detained every year in Cesar’s Detention Centre. The Pre-departure Accommodation will not be the only place where children will be detained. The family unit at Tinsley House immigration removal centre is currently undergoing a £1 million refurbishment in order to accommodate 38 beds and up to eight families.

Activists from No Borders and No One Is Illegal thought it was important to mark this disgraceful occasion by taking a trip into deepest Sussex to protest against the “moral outrage” (Clegg’s words) and “scandal” (Cameron’s words) of child detention the week the centre opened.

Child detention is inhuman. As is all detention, along with the racist immigration controls which divide humans and only profit the bosses. These controls have not existed forever and are there to enforce the power of the ruling class.

The border regime should be opposed, resisted and punched through by every working-class activist and trade unionist. Papers or no papers, we’re all human.


Submitted by danrawnsley on Sat, 24/09/2011 - 19:52

Absolutely none. Putting that aside, what do you think about the practice of imprisoning children? You seem to suggest that immigration controls are necessary, perhaps even desirable.

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 28/09/2011 - 08:51

Could you explain how it is that immigration depresses wages, rather than it being bosses who depress wages? Are you seriously arguing that if everyone stayed put in their "own" country, wages would be tickety-boo? Do you also believe that migration *within* a country (eg. from northern England to London) depresses wages? If so, would you ban/restrict that too? And if not, what's the difference?

Submitted by danrawnsley on Wed, 28/09/2011 - 19:03

Sorry for taking so long to reply. I have very limited access to the internet at the moment. Tubeworker has made the point about depressing wages. But further to that, should socialists just follow the prejudices of workers and attempt to appeal to them? Surely the working class can only fight capitalism effectively from a perspective of international solidarity. What about workers who vote for the BNP? Should we attempt to play to their prejudices?

Also, please reply to my earlier questions:

1. What do you think about the practice of imprisoning children?
2. Do you think immigration controls are desirable?

Submitted by Clive on Thu, 29/09/2011 - 12:48

It's not really your argument, though, is it? According to your argument, people moving from low-waged parts of the UK to high-waged parts would automatically depress wages - and should therefore be stopped, or at least restricted, from doing so.

That people don't think about imposing controls on the movement of the commodity 'labour' within the UK but do between nations isn't because of some natural difference; the difference is a human-made one - 'nations', with borders.

In fact, in the modern world, capital's ability to move internationally to wherever labour is cheapest is always a threat to the highest-paid workers. The problem is precisely that capital is international. Our only answer to that is to be international, too - which means uniting across borders, rather than seeing other workers (whether they're immigrants or low-paid workers elsewhere) as our enemy (or the source of the problem).

It's not an easy argument to win, I'll grant you. But that's fundamentally because the workers' movement is in such poor shape to make the kinds of international links it needs to in order to oppose capital internationally.

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