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“No Human Is Illegal” – Protesters Rally Against Migrant Detention Centre in Oxfordshire

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Around 50 protesters gathered at the Langford Lane entrance of Campsfield in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, on Saturday, November 25, 2023. The detention center, which closed its doors in 2018, is slated to reopen later this year with an expanded capacity, sparking outrage among activists, as reported by BBC News.

The Home Office has assured the public that the revived Campsfield would be characterized by modernity, decency, and security, emphasizing the commitment to treating detainees with dignity and respect. However, the gathered protesters, including members of the Coalition to Keep Campsfield Closed and Oxford Student Action for Refugees, vehemently opposed the reopening, echoing the chant, “No human is illegal, keep Campsfield closed.”

Bill MacKeith, one of the organizers of the demonstration, highlighted concerns about the lack of planning applications for new buildings at Campsfield. He drew attention to a recent Supreme Court decision that deemed the deportation plan to Rwanda as not legal. MacKeith urged the government to revert to the pre-2022 reform policy, emphasizing the need to detain fewer people under immigration law, for shorter durations, and explore community-based alternatives to detention.

Campsfield’s troubled history looms large in the debate. During its previous operation, the facility witnessed hunger strikes, instances of self-harm, and tragic suicides, ultimately leading to its closure in 2018. Critics argue that reopening a center with such a troubled past raises serious questions about the potential for recurring issues and the efficacy of detention as an immigration control measure.

The Home Office has clarified that the resurrected Campsfield will house 400 men classified as “foreign nationals liable for removal from the UK – foreign national offenders and immigration offenders.” Defending the necessity of detention and removal in maintaining effective immigration controls, the Home Office asserted its commitment to executing these measures with dignity and respect, emphasizing their serious approach to the welfare of detained individuals.

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The clash between government plans and public sentiment underscores the ongoing debate surrounding immigration policies and the treatment of those awaiting removal. As the government pushes forward with its reopening strategy, protesters remain resolute, demanding a reconsideration of detention practices and a return to a more humane and community-oriented approach to immigration control.

The controversy surrounding Campsfield reflects broader societal discussions about the ethics and effectiveness of immigration detention. Only time will reveal whether the government’s vision of a “modern, decent, and secure” Campsfield aligns with the protesters’ calls for a more compassionate and rights-focused immigration system.

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Birminghamgist Staff is a News Reporter, making waves in the UK with insightful and Engaging reporting.

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