Charity considers legal action against Home Office over Glasgow immigration raid

A ring of police officers dwarfed by a crowd of people supporting the men arrested

A migrant charity has said it’s investigating legal action against the Home Office for “casting aspersions” on two Indian nationals detained in Glasgow as “illegal” immigrants.

Legal action

Lakhvir Singh and Sumit Sehdev were released from Border Force detention after crowds swarmed around the van in which they were held, preventing it from leaving Kenmure Street in Pollokshields on 13 May.

Demonstrators blocked the vehicle for several hours, with one even lying underneath its axles, before police released the pair on public safety grounds.

Scottish justice secretary Humza Yousaf has blamed the Home Office for its “reckless action”, while first minister Nicola Sturgeon has attacked its “appalling asylum and immigration policy”.

Glasgow immigration protest
The two men were eventually released from the immigration enforcement van after several hours (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Part of the community

Singh and Sehdev, both aged in their 30s and reportedly a mechanic and chef respectively, have lived in the UK for several years and are “part of a community”, said refugee and migrant charity Positive Action in Housing.

The charity’s director Robina Qureshi said:

The Home Office have referred to these men as illegal.

Well they are wrong, and we are now investigating legal action against the Home Office for casting such aspersions.

The term illegal in this context is part of the hostile environment. It’s not appropriate to use it for people who have lived in the UK for several years and are part of a community.

The men now have legal representation and are in the process of trying to regularise their status.

The fact that they had no active legal representation before means they were left vulnerable.

Glasgow immigration protest
One protester positioned himself under the van to ensure it could not leave (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Home Office has been contacted for comment. On 13 May, a spokesperson said:

The UK Government is tackling illegal immigration and the harm it causes, often to the most vulnerable people, by removing those with no right to be in the UK.

The operation in Glasgow was conducted in relation to suspected immigration offences and the two Indian nationals complied with officers at all times.

The UK Government continues to tackle illegal migration in all its forms and our New Plan for Immigration will speed up the removal of those who have entered the UK illegally.

Right to life

Jelina Berlow Rahman, a lawyer instructed to represent Singh, said he has been in the country since 2008 and “has a right to a private life, a family life”.

She added:

It was evident the number of people who came together, that was his community, that was neighbours, that was his friends – the majority of people knew him.

Qureshi added:

Dawn raid vans have no place going into communities dragging innocent people from their homes. They are not, categorically not, criminals.

Glasgow immigration protest
Hundreds of people joined the protest against the men’s removal (Andrew Milligan/PA)

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  • Show Comments
    1. Please note this was a peaceful and good natured protest despite Patel’s characterisation of them as a “mob”. I doubt if it was a coincidence that this was done in the First Minister’s constituency on the day a significant majority of Independence supporting MSP’s – SNP and Greens – were in the Scottish Parliament to see the new MSP’s taking the oath. It’s not the first time, by any means, that Glaswegians have supported those falling foul of the WM hostile environment.

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