Fighting to stay

Jessica Charsley of Manchester No Borders offers a ten-step guide to building an anti-deportation campaign

November 14, 2008
4 min read

1 Brace yourself to go public

Unfortunately, legal challenges to deportations often fail to have any effect. That means it’s time to fight back politically and start a campaign. There is no guarantee of success, but many other cases have shown that public pressure can force the Home Office to change its decisions.

Campaigning will involve organising and working with as many other people as possible in awareness-raising activities. Choosing the best method (apart from ‘all of them together’) depends upon the situation and your resources. Although this will be a frightening prospect for some people, the aim is simply to get as much publicity as possible.

2 Stay focused and get numbers on your side

It is important to concentrate on things that put real pressure on the Home Office. Political action involving as many people as possible is the most effective. Consider holding meetings, demonstrations and pickets, and contact the local media about them (alert them 48 hours in advance and provide a named contact).

A petition can be useful if a lot of people sign it. Personal, hand-written letters to important individuals – local MPs, for instance – and potentially sympathetic organisations can also work. Remember that all letters to the Home Office must contain your Home Office reference number.

3 Size matters

The golden rule is to think big. Beyond organising a variety of local activities, try to move onto a national or even international scale. If you can, travel around to meet with other campaigners and start working together. Ask people abroad to write to the British embassy in their country as well as to the Home Office in the UK.

4 Join forces

Remember to seek the support of organisations as well as individuals. Migrant and refugee support groups, human rights campaigns and trade unions are obvious examples, but try to look as broadly as possible. The support of an organisation can win people’s trust and respect, and they may be able to help promote your campaign or provide resources.

5 Use the internet – but wisely

The internet will be important for networking your campaign. Websites or blog pages are excellent ways to spread information and keep people up to date. However, don’t let the internet replace other activities. Things that are the product of less activity have less impact – computer-generated letters are easier to ignore, for instance. Perhaps get people to write something for you, no matter how small, at the beginning of meetings.

6 Play the system to your advantage

If the Home Office rejects your case, your legal representative can ask them to look at the case again. To do this, you must provide them with new evidence, a new interpretation of old evidence, or a new angle on the case altogether. Prepare as much as you can in advance. Also, don’t forget to try to involve your local MP or any sympathetic members of local government, as they may be able to improve communication with the Home Office.

7 Spread the word

Produce a standard leaflet that explains your case in one or two sentences and asks for support, and hand it out wherever possible. Your campaign may last a long time, so make sure you always have a large supply. The leaflet should include a request for people to write personal letters to the Home Office, so remember to include your Home Office reference number for supporters to use. You can also advertise your regular campaign meetings on your literature. If possible, provide all the information in several languages.

8 Grab people’s attention

Attention-grabbing posters or a campaign banner can be taken to all of your events, and will make for good photos. Another possibility is to make a short video about your case. If you don’t have access to equipment then contact local media groups or media students to see if they can help.

9 Raise funds

Campaign publicity usually costs money, so fundraising activities are crucial. Use all of the resources available, and make sure all your promotional material and literature includes an appeal for donations. You may want to open a bank account in the name of the campaign.

10 And finally

Don’t give up hope!

This article is based on a practical guide by No One Is Illegal. Additional information about existing campaign groups nationwide is available from the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns

Red Pepper is an independent, non-profit magazine that puts left politics and culture at the heart of its stories. We think publications should embrace the values of a movement that is unafraid to take a stand, radical yet not dogmatic, and focus on amplifying the voices of the people and activists that make up our movement. If you think so too, please support Red Pepper in continuing our work by becoming a subscriber today.
Why not try our new pay as you feel subscription? You decide how much to pay.

Brexit, Corbyn and beyond
Clarity of analysis can help the left avoid practical traps, argues Paul O'Connell

Paul Mason vs Progress: ‘Decide whether you want to be part of this party’ – full report
Broadcaster and Corbyn supporter Paul Mason tells the Blairites' annual conference some home truths

Contagion: how the crisis spread
Following on from his essay, How Empire Struck Back, Walden Bello speaks to TNI's Nick Buxton about how the financial crisis spread from the USA to Europe

How empire struck back
Walden Bello dissects the failure of Barack Obama's 'technocratic Keynesianism' and explains why this led to Donald Trump winning the US presidency

Empire en vogue
Nadine El-Enany examines the imperial pretensions of Britain's post-Brexit foreign affairs and trade strategy

Grenfell Tower residents evicted from hotel with just hours’ notice
An urgent call for support from the Radical Housing Network

Jeremy Corbyn is no longer the leader of the opposition – he has become the People’s Prime Minister
While Theresa May hides away, Corbyn stands with the people in our hours of need, writes Tom Walker

In the aftermath of this disaster, we must fight to restore respect and democracy for council tenants
Glyn Robbins says it's time to put residents, not private firms, back at the centre of decision-making over their housing

After Grenfell: ending the murderous war on our protections
Under cover of 'cutting red tape', the government has been slashing safety standards. It's time for it to stop, writes Christine Berry

Why the Grenfell Tower fire means everything must change
The fire was a man-made atrocity, says Faiza Shaheen – we must redesign our economic system so it can never happen again

Forcing MPs to take an oath of allegiance to the monarchy undermines democracy
As long as being an MP means pledging loyalty to an unelected head of state, our parliamentary system will remain undemocratic, writes Kate Flood

7 reasons why Labour can win the next election
From the rise of Grime for Corbyn to the reduced power of the tabloids, Will Murray looks at the reasons to be optimistic for Labour's chances next time

Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 25 June
On June 25th, the fourth of Red Pepper Race Section's Open Editorial Meetings will celebrate the launch of our new black writers' issue - Empire Will Eat Itself.

After two years of attacks on Corbyn supporters, where are the apologies?
In the aftermath of this spectacular election result, some issues in the Labour Party need addressing, argues Seema Chandwani

If Corbyn’s Labour wins, it will be Attlee v Churchill all over again
Jack Witek argues that a Labour victory is no longer unthinkable – and it would mean the biggest shake-up since 1945

On the life of Robin Murray, visionary economist
Hilary Wainwright pays tribute to the life and legacy of Robin Murray, one of the key figures of the New Left whose vision of a modern socialism lies at the heart of the Labour manifesto.

Letter from the US: Dear rest of the world, I’m just as confused as you are
Kate Harveston apologises for the rise of Trump, but promises to make it up to us somehow

The myth of ‘stability’ with Theresa May
Settit Beyene looks at the truth behind the prime minister's favourite soundbite

Civic strike paralyses Colombia’s principle pacific port
An alliance of community organisations are fighting ’to live with dignity’ in the face of military repression. Patrick Kane and Seb Ordoñez report.

Greece’s heavy load
While the UK left is divided over how to respond to Brexit, the people of Greece continue to groan under the burden of EU-backed austerity. Jane Shallice reports

On the narcissism of small differences
In an interview with the TNI's Nick Buxton, social scientist and activist Susan George reflects on the French Presidential Elections.

Why Corbyn’s ‘unpopularity’ is exaggerated: Polls show he’s more popular than most other parties’ leaders – and on the up
Headlines about Jeremy Corbyn’s poor approval ratings in polls don’t tell the whole story, writes Alex Nunns

Job vacancy: Red Pepper is looking for a political organiser
Closing date for applications: postponed, see below

The media wants to demoralise Corbyn’s supporters – don’t let them succeed
Michael Calderbank looks at the results of yesterday's local elections

In light of Dunkirk: What have we learned from the (lack of) response in Calais?
Amy Corcoran and Sam Walton ask who helps refugees when it matters – and who stands on the sidelines

Osborne’s first day at work – activists to pulp Evening Standards for renewable energy
This isn’t just a stunt. A new worker’s cooperative is set to employ people on a real living wage in a recycling scheme that is heavily trolling George Osborne. Jenny Nelson writes

Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 24 May
On May 24th, we’ll be holding the third of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.

Our activism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit…
Reflecting on a year in the environmental and anti-racist movements, Plane Stupid activist, Ali Tamlit, calls for a renewed focus on the dangers of power and privilege and the means to overcome them.

West Yorkshire calls for devolution of politics
When communities feel that power is exercised by a remote elite, anger and alienation will grow. But genuine regional democracy offers a positive alternative, argue the Same Skies Collective

How to resist the exploitation of digital gig workers
For the first time in history, we have a mass migration of labour without an actual migration of workers. Mark Graham and Alex Wood explore the consequences