This Volunteers’ Week, we hear from three of BID’s new volunteers on why they’ve chosen to spend their summer helping BID challenge immigration detention in the UK.
“The UK is built off the back of immigrants and I think ultimately that’s why it should support them.” - Smriti
Smriti, a law student at SOAS started her three month placement at BID this week and is looking forward to some hands-on work in immigration law, which she sees and an important complement to her law degree:
“I’m looking forward to doing lots of casework. I think the initial law degree is very theory-based and I’m really interested in seeing how the law manifests itself in practice.”
Coming from a migrant background, Smriti is passionate about the historic and ongoing contributions that migrants make to British society:
“I think the UK has got a very important role in terms of its history, and the consequences of its history, to ensure that human rights are upheld.
“The UK is built off the back of immigrants and I think ultimately that’s why it should support them. Being an immigrant myself, I understand exactly how tough it is for immigrants in any place they go to.
“And if the UK wants to present this very international, open image, it can’t also be detaining people for very arbitrary reasons, for indefinite or uncertain amounts of time. It’s just a gross violation of their rights.”
“Everyone has a right to liberty and freedom and this shouldn’t be restricted on the basis of nationality.” - Laura
Laura, also a law student at SOAS, started her three-month placement today. After hearing about BID from friends and her academic supervisor, she decided to become a casework volunteer.
We asked her how she will be supporting BID’s work:
“I’ll be working on the advice line to assist people with their bail applications . I’ll also be going into detention centres to assist legal managers provide advice. I’ve started this week and it’s been really great, everyone’s super lovely and busy. It’s a very good vibe in here.”
Laura also feels very passionately that immigration detention must be challenged:
“I think borders are ridiculous. I think everyone has a right to liberty and freedom and this shouldn’t be restricted on the basis of nationality.”
“It is especially hard to believe that a country which relies so much on its international communities can show so little regard for them at the same time.“ - Rafaela
Rafaela has been volunteering since January, a month after moving to the UK herself. Putting her journalism experience to good use, she has been helping with BID’s communications:
“It’s been great to have the chance to contribute to the vital work BID does. I think it’s rare to be able to work with something I care so deeply about and still do it within my field.
“It’s sad to have realised how badly the UK handles immigration just after I moved to the country. And it is especially hard to believe that a country which relies so much on its international communities can show so little regard for them at the same time.
“I am proud to support BID and help campaign for an end to immigration detention.”
BID’s work is supported by an outstanding team of dedicated volunteers who are committed to ending detention.
This volunteer’s week we’d like to say a special thank you to our casework volunteers, without whom none of our work could happen, our brilliant barristers who fight for our clients in court pro bono, and our trustees who guide the organisation behind the scenes.
If you are interested in volunteering, you can apply and read more information here.