The alleged treatment of London’s Chinatown community by immigration enforcement officers has been criticised by the London Assembly.
A raid on 5 July saw clashes with protesters and prompted a strike on 24 July which saw shops and restaurants close for five hours. The Chinatown Chinese Association raised concerns the community was being unfairly targeted by the Home Office, with raids scheduled for peak trading hours.
Today, the London Assembly agreed to write to Home Secretary Sajid Javid to raise concerns over tactics and press for better communication with Chinese community groups over immigration issues.
Andrew Dismore AM, who proposed the motion, said:
“It has been extremely concerning to see the gratuitous treatment of the community in Chinatown at the hands of the Home Office. Traders and residents have reported raids taking place at peak business hours and without warrants.
“Protests against the raid on 5 July resulted in an elderly resident being injured and hospitalised.
“The tensions the raids have sparked have resulted in a shutdown of Chinatown’s businesses in objection and a protest march by Chinatown residents, business owners and workers to the Home Office.
“Whilst the Metropolitan Police have recognised the need for dialogue and are apologetic over the 5 July incidents and have met with Chinatown leaders to look at ways of resolution, the Home Office have not been proactive in doing so.
“This is why I am urging the London Assembly to write to the Home Secretary to raise the issue of the heavy-handed tactics of officers, and to encourage more positive engagement with Chinatown community groups concerning immigration enforcement.”
The full text of the motion
“The Assembly condemns the alleged heavy-handed approach taken by the Home Office through enforcement raids of Chinatown, most recently on 5 July. A report in the Guardian notes that immigration officers clashed with protesting crowds, resulting in an elderly woman being taken to hospital. The woman was filmed as she lay down in front of an immigration van as crowds gathered.
“The London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA’s) allegations are that enforcement actions often take place without a warrant, happen at peak hours of trading and are often heavy-handed and aggressive. A protest throughout Chinatown on 24 July demonstrated the deep concerns and feelings in London’s Chinese community against what they see as targeting by the Home Office.
“The Assembly considers Chinatown to be a vital part of London’s economic and cultural success, and an important link with the emerging economies of Asia. To lose Chinatown would be a disastrous loss of a draw for tourism and business.
“The Assembly resolves to write to the Home Secretary to raise concerns about the alleged tactics of Immigration officers and to ask that dialogue is opened up with the LCCA and other Chinese community groups on how best to enforce immigration rules.”
Source : https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/assembly/chinatown-immigration-raids-condemned