"My attention was first drawn to the issues surrounding immigration detention in the UK when I started at SOAS University in London. A lot of my course was about globalisation, migration and how crucial the movement of people is for our society to flourish. I soon got involved with SOAS Detainee Support Group to learn more about these issues, and how to challenge detention as an immigration control mechanism. I was disgusted to learn that 30,000 people are locked up in immigration detention every year. They are held indefinitely, with no time limit and without the opportunity to trial.
SDS have been working together for 12 years, and in that time have engaged so many people to take a stand against detaining people who have a precarious migration status. The state of immigration detention centres is appalling; they are built to prison standards, and run by private security firms, which is not only wrong but also really expensive for the taxpayer.
I think what is really telling about this subject is that when something like the BBC Panorama documentary comes to light, the general public are shown the brutality of the system and how these people are berated, bullied and demoralised. The problem is that people don't know how they can take action against this abuse. This is where SDS comes in; they offer support to people in detention, regular visits, and emotional and practical support. Along with helping people in detention in the here and now, the group campaigns for the abolition of detention, run workshops around the UK on immigration detention and protests at detention centres and the Home Office.
For anyone who feels they don't know enough about this issue, want more information, or feel they have the capacity to start visiting someone detained in one of the UK's immigration removal centres, I would urge getting in touch with SDS."
Mia Barrow-Sullivan, SDS Member
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