Small Boats Bill – In the face of relentless attacks

Illustrated magenta birds flying across a saturated blue sky

In the face of relentless attacks, sometimes I forget to keep dreaming of the world we are trying to win. A world free from oppression and the violence of borders. A world in which we can all flourish, a world of joy, justice, dignity and abundance.

The ‘Illegal Migration Bill’ is the latest in a long line of violent and racist anti-migrant legislation brought by successive governments. This bill will make it all but impossible to claim asylum in Britain – criminalising routes to safety, and mandating that people are detained and deported within 28 days of arriving. Alongside the bill, the government has announced it will begin to house people seeking asylum in disused military barracks and repurposed barges moored off the coast.  

People are already housed in undignified conditions. People have been evicted from dilapidated hotels with little warning, left on the street, and told to move across the country or face homelessness. The far right have been protesting outside hotels and intimidating people housed inside by posting hateful videos of them online. Since October 2022, over 200 unaccompanied children have gone missing from hotels under the Home Office’s watch, with many feared to have been abducted.

All the while, the government brings forward legislation to make it harder for us to protest to defend our rights and protect our freedoms. 

These are relentless attacks. 

The government is adept at exploiting our fatigue to push their racism further and further. Over the last decade, we’ve seen an expansion of their hostility, bringing the border into our homes, schools, hospitals, and workplaces, driving more and more people into precarious existence, living undocumented, criminalised and isolated. 

In the face of these attacks, I remind myself to step back and remember what we are fighting for. 

We all love, live, work and move, we should be able to do this freely – without borders. We exist together in community and should all have access to education, healthcare, housing, safety, joy, and the ability to live in dignity. We dream of a world where access to freedoms is not contingent on being perceived as good or vulnerable or genuine, where the Home Office does not get to decide where and how we live. 

We do so much more than respond to government announcements, or the relentless driving of new pieces of legislation that erode our rights and freedoms. We pull down fences, close detention centres, ground deportation flights, and dismantle systems of violence everywhere. 

We build power through organising in our communities. We create networks of care and support. We imagine the ways we want to live and bring them to life together. In this way we grow our strength and we create our own paths to victory in a rejection of parliamentary processes designed to stifle transformative change.  

We are fighting to build the world we want to live in,  and our actions now will impact what is fought and won for generations. 

We organise together and we know that where we don’t compromise on the future we want – we will win. 

Patients Not Passports is one of many campaigns doing just this. You can join us in the fight against racist borders in healthcare by coming along to our next New Joiners meeting on Tuesday 18th April

“The only dream worth having is to dream that you will live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead. To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of the life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”
– Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living

A big crowd of people marching behind a large green banner that reads 'No borders in the NHS #PatientsNotPassports'