Between January and June 2010 I visited immigration detainees at Yarls Wood Immigration Detention and Removal Centre, tucked away in charming Bedford, as part of a student group called SOAS Detainee Support. Basically, this involved taking a train to Bedford once a week, meeting women and sometimes, families, who were in detention because they didn’t have the right immigration paperwork and got taken from their homes in London and placed there so they could be watched and controlled while the UK Border Agency decided whether to deport them or let them stay in the UK. And try to act as a link between them and their solicitors as well as the outside world. It was not the happiest place, as you might imagine.
Later that year I helped organize a poetry segment for Release, the group’s annual fundraiser and wrote a poem about my experiences. The poem now has the honour of being on the SOAS Detainee Support website: http://soasdetaineesupport.wordpress.com/detainee-and-visitor-experiences/
I highly recommend you to to check out the rest of the website and see what the group does, and learn about UK immigration policies, regardless of your beliefs about nations, borders, and immigration.