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Campaigning Against Deportation or Removal



 Why a campaign may be necessary


A campaign is necessary where the law is not enough to stop deportation or removal.


  • There is never a guarantee that a campaign can succeed. There is never a guarantee about winning anything in immigration law. All you can do is fight.

  • However, many years of experience have shown that campaigns and public support can put pressure on the Home Office and that cases can be won in this way.

  • Not every case requires a campaign. Many cases can be won just through proper legal representation. However, many cases cannot be won just through the law.

  • Some cases may not appear at first sight suitable for a campaign – for instance, some people may be afraid of publicity. However, it is always essential to balance the fear of any publicity with the fear of eventual deportation or removal.



It is your decision whether or not to have a campaign.


Not many people who come to this country expect to need a campaign to remain here. However, many people who come here don’t expect to have any immigration problems.


  • It is your decision and only your decision whether or not to set up a campaign. It is also your decision about what happens in the campaign. Everything the campaign does or attempts to do should be with your agreement and consent.

  • Though it is your decision whether or not to have a campaign, yet in the end you may have limited options. Many people would choose having a campaign; if it decreases the chances of being put on a boat or plane and being taken out of the country.

  • It is natural at first to think a campaign is strange and frightening. However, the Home Office is very frightening and a campaign is there to support you against the Home Office.



What a campaign means for your personal life


Campaigns are not easy. They require an enormous amount of energy on your and everyone else’s part. The energy is required to build the campaign activities and get other people to join in these activities.


  • You will have to be involved in all the activity of the campaign. You, your family and your friends are central to any campaign. Unless you are all active, then it will not grow.

  • Campaigns require you publicising your situation and your life. You cannot have a secret campaign!

  • You will almost certainly have to learn to speak openly or in public about your case. No-one finds this easy at first.

  • You will, hopefully, be invited to speak at meetings not just in your town but all over the country. It is important you do this so the campaign can become a national and not just a local one.



Having a campaign can give you personal support


A campaign is there to help you win your case. However, it can also give you tremendous personal support and strength. A campaign can help you survive the pain and misery of  the threat of deportation or removal.


  • You will not be the first person to have had a campaign! You will not be the first person who thought that you don’t have the strength to get involved in a campaign! And you wont be the first person to realise that the truth is just the opposite! It is the solidarity from the campaign and from the campaign supporters which can give you the strength to fight the Home Office.

  • You will also not be the first person who gets depressed at various stages of a campaign. This is natural. However, the solidarity of the people in the campaign will help you get over this.

  • You will gain many close friends through the campaign.



Getting support from people in your situation. Fighting together!


Perhaps the biggest source of support is meeting with and talking to other people under threat of the immigration and asylum laws.


  • You could meet and discuss with other people who have had campaigns and won. You can learn from their experiences.

  • You could also meet with other people who are presently having campaigns against deportation or removal. There is strength in unity and joining in with each other’s activities.

  • You could invite other anti-deportation campaigns, both locally and nationally, to your events. You and your campaign could also join in events organised by other campaigns. If you give other people support then you will get support back.


Demand support – don’t beg for it! Solidarity not sympathy!


You are not to blame for the situation you are in. The fault is totally with the Home Office and its immigration laws. Therefore do not feel ashamed! None of this is your fault!


  • Because this situation is not your fault, then you and your campaign should not beg for support. You should demand it!

  • Remember! Your campaign is asking people for support and solidarity. It is not asking for pity or charity!

  • There is no need for the campaign to publicise every single detail of your case or your personal story.

  • Some of the strongest campaigns are the ones that are most open politically and which stress that the cause of every deportation and every removal is the racist nature of immigration and asylum laws.



Learning to become a political speaker!


Having a campaign means learning something you may not be used to doing – speaking in public! At first this may seem difficult. However it becomes easier each time you do it. Sometimes it is good fun!


  • Other people may help you prepare your speech. However remember it is your speech, your life. You must say whatever you think best

  • Some of the best speeches are the ones that are most political. These are the ones – that demand and do not beg for support – that describe and explain how the laws are racist  – that make the audience understand that there are thousands of other people in your situation – that suggest ways of building your campaign.



Could a campaign harm your case?


The whole point of a campaign is to get the Home Office to allow you to remain. However everything is a risk. So your campaign should constantly discuss the legal and political implications of its actions. .


  • Being under threat of removal or deportation is the worst situation you could be in.  A strong campaign could only make it better.

  • Campaigns are by definition political. However, immigration laws are increasingly political. That is why campaigns are needed.

  • Small, inactive, indecisive campaigns can be counter-productive by showing the Home Office you only have limited support.





Making your campaign strong and powerful!


It is your campaign. Therefore nothing should be done without your agreement.


  • Remember - there is no use in having a weak campaign. There is no use in limiting the campaign to small-scale activities. The real strength of a campaign can be measured by the diversity of its activities and the number of people it attracts to them.

  • The golden advice is to think big in building the campaign and its events. The Home Office is very powerful so the campaign needs to be effective in order to stop the deportation or removal. Size matters!

  • The campaign needs to get national and not just local support. So successful campaigns often require a lot of travel in order to build support.





When to start a campaign


You need to talk with your legal representative (if you have one), right at the start of preparing your case, about when you might start a campaign.


  • It is no use waiting to start a campaign until after all the legal processes have been completed. This is usually far too late to achieve victory. Campaigns need to start as soon as possible.

  • It is difficult to decide whether to have a campaign. However, there is no point in postponing the decision. Delay is harmful. Time is crucial in fighting the Home Office.





Campaign written materials


All campaigns need basic materials. In particular:


  • Your campaign should produce a standard leaflet which explains your case and asks for support.

  • This leaflet may need to be translated into appropriate languages. It is easiest if all languages are on the same leaflet.

  • Campaigns can last a long time. So you will need easy-to-print leaflets – and lots of them. You have to make sure leaflets are always available and you never run out of them.

  • The leaflet should ask people to write personal letters to the Home Office supporting your case. Personally written letters are treated more seriously by the Home Office than are standard printed letters.



  • Remember -all letters written to the Home Office should contain your Home Office reference number, otherwise the Home Office will not know they are about your case. Therefore the leaflet must contain your reference number and supporters must be told to quote it in letters.

  • In addition to personal letters the campaign can produce a postcard addressed to the Home Secretary, with the campaign’s picture on the front and the campaign’s demands on the back.

  • Campaigns cost money! A bank account may need to be opened in the name of the campaign. The campaign leaflet and all campaign events must contain an appeal for money. Fund-raising activities are a crucial part of the campaign and can also be used to publicise the campaign.

  • The campaign may want to produce a petition sheet which it can distribute locally and nationally.

  • It can also be useful to produce large-size posters which can be displayed in buildings and on walls.

  • Using the internet and having a campaign website can also increase publicity and keep supporters up to date with what is happening

  • Several campaigns have produced videos explaining the case, showing activities and encouraging support. Maybe a local media group or media students could help in this.

  • Remember – always include contact details on all material so that more people can find out how to join in the activities.






Getting the support of other organisations


As well as support from individuals you also need support from organisations. Organisations should be asked to write to the Home Office. Organisations should also be asked to circulate the campaign petition and to send money to the campaign.


  • In the campaign leaflet, you should ask organisations to invite a speaker from the campaign to one of their meetings.

  • Letters asking for support should be sent to black, women’s, refugee, community and trade union organisations.

  • Your campaign leaflet could be updated sometimes to show a list of all supporting organisations.



Support from black, migrant and immigrant organisations


Immigration and asylum laws affect black people, migrants and immigrants. Therefore all campaigns need the active support of these communities in this country, where this is possible.

  •  Community groups need to be invited to all campaign events.

  • The campaign may need to provide interpreters for its events.



Trade union support


Trade union support is important because trade unions have a large membership. Also trade unions are supposed to be opposed to racism.


  • Support from as many unions as possible should be sought at local, regional and national levels.

  • Support could also be sought from trades councils – which are the combined bodies of unions locally.

  • It is useful for the campaign to draw up and circulate a model resolution for use with trade unions.

  • Once any part of a trade union organisation supports the campaign, it should be asked to circulate the campaign material and seek union support at other levels.

  • If you yourself are a member of a trade union, then the campaign should aim eventually to get your union to support you at a national level. Your union should then try and ensure that other unions, and the Trades Union Congress (of all unions), support your case. If you are not already a member of  a union then try and join one!

  • It is very helpful to get your union and perhaps other unions to produce their own leaflet or poster in support of your case. This could have more effect within the union than your campaign’s publicity.



Support from children and their schools


Children are often the most vulnerable to immigration controls. Their fears and their wishes must be respected. However children and their schools have often been the most active in fighting deportations and winning cases. For instance


  • In many cases schools have acted as a community – of children, teachers, governors, parents – in defending pupils under threat of deportations or removal.

  • The production of some campaign material can be good fun for children – such as making badges and banners.



Child-centred professional reports


Where children are under threat of deportation it is best practice to provide both professional local authority social services and educational reports to the Home Office. This is in addition to personal letters of support from the school and its teachers.


  • Your legal representative needs to arrange these reports and to explain in detail what factors need to be examined in them.

  • What must be shown is that removal from the present school to a possible new school and removal away from present friends would be drastically harmful both educationally and socially.

  • These factors need to be proven and not just asserted.

  • The harm caused by removal must be shown to be drastic and not just minimal.



Public activities


As well as written material it could be important to have large public activities. Activities should be well organised with publicity in appropriate languages starting well beforehand. If the publicity comes out too late, then the event will only be small. Typical activities are:


  • Public meetings.

  • Street meetings to publicise the case and collect money.

  • Demonstration – you should try and attract both local community support and national support for all demonstrations.

  • Social events.

  • Pickets of the immigration appeal hearing.



Gaining publicity


It is not easy to get publicity from newspapers, television or radio.


§         As well as other public activities, the campaign could therefore think of unusual activities which could attract publicity.

§         For instance, where children are under threat of deportation, their school could organise a public event involving all the children at the school and their parents – such as going to London to present the petition.

§         Have a campaign banner and always remember to take it to all events.



The campaign group


Experience has shown that for a campaign to work, there has to be a strong campaign group which organises all activities. The group is where decisions are discussed and made, and where tasks shared out. The group is also where you can make sure that your instructions are put into practice.


§         The group should meet regularly (preferably weekly) at the same place, on the same day, and at the same time.

§         If meetings are not held regularly, then people may not remember the dates and therefore won’t come.

§         In a successful campaign the organising group should get bigger by attracting new supporters. The campaign should all the time encourage this. Any organisation that supports the campaign should be asked to ensure at least one of its members acts as a link to the campaign, possibly by attending the campaign group.

§         Meetings should be as open to all supporters and be as easy to attend as possible. Therefore make sure you meet in a place which is very easy to find.

§         Don’t meet in a place where some people may feel offended to come – for instance places where there is alcohol.

§         The place, date and time of group meetings could be given in the campaign leaflet (depending on how safe the meeting place is).

§         Strong campaign groups have certain roles and ensure there are people who will fulfil these, throughout the campaign. These include responsibilities for money, for preparing and conducting the campaign meetings, for taking minutes, for replying to letters, for publicising campaign activities, for making sure letters of support are written and so on.



Group meetings


The only point for a campaign to exist is in order to win. Therefore:


  • Remember – group meetings are a place to plan activities, not just to talk! The weakest campaigns are the ones that talk a lot and do little. The strongest campaigns are the ones that talk little and do a lot!

  • Remember – there is no point in making decisions which are not carried out! Whoever agrees to do tasks must come to the next meeting to explain whether the tasks have been done or send an update. Minutes of decisions should be taken at all meetings and circulated well before the next meeting.



Using your lawyer/legal representative


It is very difficult to find competent and experienced lawyers who understand not only the law but also the timing and effect of different tactics. Do not trust lawyers (or community leaders) who promise you everything is easy and they will sort it all out. Nothing in immigration law is easy.


  • It is essential your lawyer is in touch regularly with the campaign so everyone can make sure that the legal and the campaigning sides of the case are working together and going in the same direction.


  • It is absolutely essential that the lawyer is clear from the start about the likely prospects of legal success. Preferably, they need to be able to provide (however approximately) some indication of how much longer you have to remain in the country before the Home Office tries to deport or remove you. Unless you know this then the campaign will be unclear what to do. You may be liable to detention and/or removal at any time and the campaign needs to be prepared.






If you don’t have a legal representative


You may not have a lawyer because none may be available, or else you may not be granted any, or any further, legal aid money.


  • Your campaign must look at the reasons why you have no legal representation and decide what to do.

  • One thing it may decide is to challenge through publicity and a picket the local office of the Legal Services Commission for refusing financial help

  • Campaigns also need sometimes to consider massive fund-raising drives to pay for a lawyer.

  • Remember – trade union members are usually entitled to some form of legal help from their union.





Avoiding mistakes


There are some common mistakes that need to be avoided in order not to waste time. For instance -


  • It is important to involve your Member of Parliament in your case. What she or he can do is ensure better communication with the Home Office and also, sometimes, help temporarily postpone any removal. However your MP has no power to force the Home Office to let you stay permanently. They do not make the decision about your case. They cannot make the Home Office change its mind – only you and the campaign can do this.

  • If the Home Office (and the courts) reject your case then your legal representative will at some stage ask the Home Office to look at it again. However there is no point in asking the Home Office simply to look at evidence they have already rejected. You must provide new evidence or a new interpretation of old evidence or a new angle on the case altogether.




Useful contacts


(1)       Advice and support on how to set up an anti-deportation campaign group


National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns. NCADC has four offices – in Birmingham (0121 554  6947) , London (020 8808  6865)  Manchester (0161 740 6504) ,  Middlesbrough (01642  226 260).  Its main address is in Manchester at 1 Delaunays Road, Crumpsall, Manchester M8 4QS (email NCADC has a website at




(2)       Free and expert legal advice agencies


There are some (very few) private solicitors who are good and can be trusted. In addition the following offer free and expert help (telephone numbers follow names of organisation).


There are two specialised agencies offering free advice and representation on all immigration, nationality and asylum matters. One is Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit which is one of the agencies that has produced this pamphlet (0161 740 7722). The other is the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants based in London (020 7251 8708). In London Asylum Aid also provides legal help in asylum cases (020 7377 5123).


Most community law centres provide advice and representation on immigration, nationality and asylum issues (or else can recommend another agency which does).



Avon and Bristol 0117 916 7733                              Barnet   020 8203   4141

Battersea  : 020 7585 0716                                        Bradford  : 01274 306 617

Brent   : 020 8451 1122                                              Bury  : 0161 272 0666

Cambridge House  : 0207 703 3051                          Camden   : 020 7284 6510
Cardiff  : 02920 498117                                             Carlisle  : 01228 515 129
Central London  : 020 7839 2998                             Chesterfield  : 01246 550 674
Coventry  : 024 7622 3053                                         Derby   : 01332 344 557
Devon  : 01752 519 794                                              Enfield  : 0208 807 8888
Gateshead  : 0191 478 2847                                       Gloucester  : 01452 423492
Greenwich   : 020 8305 3350                                     Hackney   : 020 8985 8364
Hammersmith/ Fulham: 020 8741 4021                 

Harehills & Chapeltown  : 0113 249 1100               Hillingdon  : 020 8561 9400  Hounslow  : 020 8570 9505                                        Humberside : 01482 211 180    Isle of Wight  : 01983 524715                                    Islington  : 020 7607 2461    Lambeth  : 020 7737 9780                                    

(NI) - (Belfast office) : 028 9024 4401  

(NI) - (Western Area office) : 028 7126 2433

Leicester  : 0116 255 3781                                        Lewisham  : 020 8692 5355

Liverpool 8  : 0151 709 7222                                    Luton  : 01582 481 000 

Newcastle  : 0191 230 4777                                    

North Kensington  020 8968 0934                    

North Manchester  : 0161 205 5040                         Nottingham  : 0115 978 7813

Oldham  : 0161 627 0925                                          Paddington  : 020 8960 3155
Plumstead  : 020 8855 9817                                       Rochdale  : 01706 657766
Saltley & Nechells  : 0121 328 2307                         Sheffield  : 0114 273 1888
South Manchester  : 0161 225 5111                         Southwark  : 020 7732 2008
Springfield  : 020 8767 6884                                     Stockport  : 0161 476 6336
Surrey  :
01483 215 000




In addition to the above the government has established two agencies to offer help. These are:

Refugee Legal Centre. This is based in London but may take on cases nationally (020 7780 3200)

Immigration Advisory Service. This deals with non-asylum cases. It has several offices – Birmingham (0121 616 3540), Cardiff (02920 496662), Glasgow (0141 248 2956), Hounslow (020 8814 1115), Leeds (0113 244 2460), Liverpool (0151 475 1628), London (020 7357 6917), Manchester (0161 834 9942)

There also exists Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID). BID is an independent agency which works with all those detained under immigration laws to secure their release from prisons or removal centres. There are 3 offices; London (020 7247 3590), Portsmouth –for Haslar centre (023 9229 1916), Oxford – for Campsfield centre (0845 330 4536



(3)       This leaflet has been produced by


(a)    No-One Is Illegal. No-One Is Illegal has produced a manifesto against controls in English, Spanish, French and German. It is part of an international network of similar organisations. It has a website at  and can be contacted at


(b)    Greater Manchester No Borders Group. No Borders is a political organisation opposed to all controls and supporting everyone threatened by controls. It acts as an umbrella group for numerous activities. It meets monthly. Website:  Email:


(c)    Bury Law Centre. Bury Law Centre offers advice and representation on immigration, nationality and asylum issues (as well as other law centre matters). Address is 19 Knowsley Street, Bury, Lancashire BL9 0ST   (0161.272 0666)


(d)   Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit. GMIAU provides legal advice and representation on all immigration, nationality and asylum issues. Address 1 Delaunays Road , Crumpsall Manchester M8 4QS , (0161 740 7722)



This leaflet


Further copies of this leaflet can be downloaded from the No One Is Illegal website at 



In addition to this leaflet a larger manual against deportation has been produced (“By any means necessary – how to build a public anti-deportation campaign”). It is available from the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns.



June 2005


For Socialist Unity ~ For Internationalism ~ For Peace ~ For Justice ~ For Unity ~ For Socialism