“Divisive” clean-up results in immigration arrests

Catford, Lewisham. Pic: Fan Yang

Catford, Lewisham. Pic: Fan Yang

A “clean-up” operation in Catford last week has been called “divisive” by the Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network after it resulted in the arrests and reporting of six individuals for immigration offences.

There were 14 premises visited on October 28 resulting in three arrests for immigration offences, three reports for immigration offences, two fixed penalty notices for breach of forecourt licensing, two trade waste notices as well as a food safety notice.

Labour councillor James-J Walsh, who was not present on the day, said that the police, UK Border Agency, Council Crime Reduction Service, Environmental Enforcement, Food Safety as well as Trading Standards and Parking visited the Broadway from 9:30am to deal with concerns of “on the street issues”.

Walsh told Eastlondonlines that “a number of residents” had expressed worries about trade waste, illegally parked vehicles and a “perceived rise” in anti-social behaviour. However, the main result of the operation was the arrests and reports for immigration offences.

When asked about the operation, Rosario Guimba-Stewart of Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network said: “this type of operation is divisive and does not help in establishing a cohesive and inclusive society.”

She added: “In our experience here, clients who are seeking asylum or in the process of sorting out their immigration status, most of the times may not have proper documentations with them and or may not be able to show these documentations immediately.”

Guimba-Stewart’s organisation give “free, independent and confidential advice and information” on immigration issues in Lewisham and the surrounding area.

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