Kenmure Street: Nicola Sturgeon calls on Home Office to abandon deportation

Nicola Sturgeon and her Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf have asked the Home Office to call off a deportation as tensions flare in Glasgow over a UK Border Force attempt to deport a family living in the First Minister’s constituency.

Around 200 protesters have tried to prevent immigration officers from forcibly removing people from a property in Kenmure Street in Pollokshields, sitting on the road and in front of the enforcement van.

The First Minister, who was sworn in as an MSP earlier this morning, said she was “ready to offer any necessary assistance to those detained”.

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On Twitter she said: “As constituency MSP, I am deeply concerned by this action by the Home Office, especially today in the heart of a community celebrating Eid. My office is making urgent enquiries.”

A man holds a sign out of a window above police guarding an immigration van in Kenmure Street, Glasgow which is surrounded by protesters.

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Glasgow residents gather and chant 'deportations no more' to block police and UK...

Scottish Government Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said both he and Ms Sturgeon had been in touch with the Home Office to abandon the operation.

“I have expressed the Scottish Government’s deep concern and anger about this operation by the Home Office, especially in the heart of a community celebrating Eid,” he said.

“To take this action in Pollokshields, a day after the First Minister warned of an upsurge of Covid cases in the south side of Glasgow is completely reckless.”

“I have spoken to the Home Office, as has the First Minister, and we have called on the UK Government to abandon their operation.

“We have repeatedly called on the Home Office to deliver more humane and flexible asylum and immigration policies. It is increasingly clear that the UK Government is incapable of delivering policies that reflect Scotland’s values, circumstances or interests.”

He added: “We welcome people from all over the world, not only for their contribution to our economy and society, but for the diversity they bring to our communities. Scotland is stronger for our multiculturalism and non-UK citizens are an important part of our country’s future.

“Immigration is fully reserved to the UK Government. The Scottish Government has no control over the operation and enforcement of the immigration or asylum system, which is dealt with by the Home Office."

Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar, who stood against Nicola Sturgeon for election in the Glasgow Southside constituency, said he was “disgusted” by the Home Office raids.

"It is particularly unacceptable that this is happening during a pandemic, in an area that has a spike in cases and on the day of Eid,” he said. "We need an immigration policy that is based on human dignity and human rights."

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie also slammed the Home Office and said it was vital Scotland builds “an asylum system worthy of the name”.

He added: “It’s horrific that people have been forced to take such action to defend their most vulnerable neighbours from the brutality of the UK Home Office.

“The current regime, presided over by the institutionally racist Home Office, is inhumane. Scotland needs an asylum system worthy of the name, and asylum support provided to a standard that our communities can be proud of.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said officers had been in attendance to “support colleagues at the UK Border Agency” since 9.55am and “inquiries were continuing".

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