Migrant threatens government with legal action over ‘go home’ vans spotted in Redbridge
PUBLISHED: 15:35 07 August 2013 | UPDATED: 15:59 07 August 2013
A migrant has said “go home” vans driving around Redbridge were so insulting that it inspired him to launch legal action against the government.
Ray Murray, 53, said the vans, which were a pilot project by the Home Office and had billboards stating “go home or face arrest”, would only inflame racial tensions.
Mr Murray arrived to the UK from Ireland 27 years ago and said he had experienced racism while working on building sites.
He is expecting a reply to his letter to the Home Office today (Thursday) which he hopes will address some of the legal challenges he has launched against the vans.
When he found out about the project – which was tried out in six London boroughs for a week – he said he felt he wanted to do something about it.
Mr Murray said: “How do they know that these people are illegal immigrants? They are putting everyone into one category. Nobody knew about it in advance.
“They should be using the money to do something that is helping these people.”
The vans have a number for people to text if they want to leave the UK as well as the number of people who have been arrested that week in the area.
The van spotted at Seven Kings station, High Road, Seven Kings, stated that 106 people had been arrested.
He said the campaign was poorly thought out and if the Home Office really did want to help people leave, they should have written it in different languages.
“I’ve been on the streets with these people. They all have their own problems and doing something like this is not going to help them. It’s probably going to make it worse if anything else.”
He is being supported in his legal challenge by the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London (Ramfel).
Immigration minister Mark Harper told a national newspaper last month the posters were not racist, adding they were “telling them [illegal immigrants] to comply with the law”.
•• A public meeting discussing the vans is being held on Monday, from 6-8pm, at Ramfel, Cardinal Heenan Centre, High Road, Ilford.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ilford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.