Immigration raids are one of the main ways the State intimidates migrant communities and People of Colour. They are a mechanism to implement and enforce borders in everyday life, while turning all of us into immigration enforcement. They create an atmosphere of fear and we will not rest until they stop.
In 2023, the Home Office ramped up immigration enforcement in the wake of the Prime Minister’s pledge to increase raids on people without the permission to work. The Home Office has established the UK’s first cross-Government ministerial taskforce on immigration enforcement and has recruited 200 new Immigration Enforcement staff.
The Government have stated that they will use “every available power” to support law enforcement activity to identify and reduce people without permission to work in the UK whilst ensuring that only those eligible can work, receive benefits or access public services.
As the Government pursues increasingly hostile immigration policies, more people will be forced underground and into precarious, exploitative situations. Migrant and refugee communities need support and solidarity, and standing up against immigration raids is more important than ever.
There are 19 immigration compliance and enforcement teams across the country. They work with the public and alongside police, HM Revenue & Customs, local authorities and other local partners. Their purpose is to track down undocumented migrants and people without the right to work.
Immigration enforcement usually target residential addresses at dawn so they can catch people while they’re sleeping. Restaurants, shops and factories are also targets. They rely on “low-grade intelligence” or tip offs.
In June 2023, the Prime Minister attended an immigration raid in Brent, London. As part of the coverage on this, he claimed the Government has increased the number of such raids by 57% on the same period last year and arrests have doubled. In the first quarter of 2023 alone (1st January to 31st March), 346 civil penalties have been issued to the value of £6 million.
Immigration enforcement data has also been published for Q2. The data shows civil penalties for Q2 total £5.6 million (377). While the total in fines is lower than the previous quarter, the data shows more penalties were issued than the previous quarter which totalled 346 fines totalling £6m.
We are categorically opposed to immigration raids and the demonising of undocumented migrants. We are also committed to calling for an end to right to work checks and borders in the workplace. You can find out more about how we are challenging right to work checks by checking out our Challenge the Checks campaign.
There are anti-raids groups in Hackney, Waltham Forest, Newham, Tower Hamlets and west London, as well as Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool and Newcastle. However there is a lot you and your local community can do.
You can find out more information on raids and how to support detainees by checking out: