A woman held at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre made a tearful plea by phone to a crowd of protestors outside the Home Office in London one evening in February. The crowd fell silent as her wavering voice echoed from a mobile phone connected to a speaker: “Can I talk please?”
In Britain the term “illegal immigrant” is used to describe people who break immigration laws, but in popular culture and action it is a catchall phrase often denoting poor migrants, stateless people, and refugees.
A man seeks asylum in the UK. The UK Border Agency does not believe the potential refugee is from where he says he is. What does the UKBA do? Calls in government officials from said country to interview the person fleeing from them. Welcome to Britain 2013.
Gladys, a young dental nurse from Zimbabwe, is just one typical victim out of thousands, whose liberty depends on the caprice of the UK border agency’s decision-making.