End Heathrow Immigration Detention (EHID) is a collective fighting for the permanent closure of the Heathrow immigration detention centres, and for the government to abandon its plans to build a mega centre to replace the ones that would be displaced by the airport expansion.
We work in solidarity with those fighting against the airport expansion and (everyday) borders. We believe that the climate crisis is the product of a racist and classist system and therefore the struggles for climate justice and migrant justice are inseparably linked.
Borders kill and ecological disaster kills. From deadly levels of air pollution in the UK, to extreme tropical storms in southern Africa and severe drought in Central America, we are all affected by the climate crisis. However, the climate crisis is part of a racist and classist system and not all of us suffer equally – those who contribute the least to carbon emissions and have the least responsibility are those who predominantly suffer the most.
Western colonialism and neo-colonialism have looted billions from the global south through plundering resources, tax avoidance and profit shifting. Because of this, these countries have less means to effectively deal with the poor air quality, hunger, drought, flood and displacement that is an ever more common occurrence from extreme weather conditions caused by ecological collapse. In the UK, black British people are 28% more likely to be exposed to higher levels of air pollution than their white counterparts, and 50% of the poorest areas in London have illegal levels of air pollution.
Yet whilst ecological collapse forces ever greater numbers of people to migrate for survival, Fortress Europe is seeking more elaborate ways to exclude, detain and deport people from racialised, migrant and refugee communities. Borders have turned countless areas of the world – from the Mediterranean to Calais, from the Sahel to the mountains of Turkey, from the Sonora desert to the seas of Indonesia – into graveyards for migrants fleeing violence and poverty, whilst those who manage to reach the global north suffer violence, discrimination and the threat of indefinite detention.
At the heart of all of this is the pursuit of profit at the expense of communities. Border regimes whose primary purpose is to prevent a global working class from gaining equal access to the (stolen) wealth and resources of the global North, private security firms like Mitie who won a £525 million deportation “escorting” contract (and who run the Heathrow detention centres) and multinational corporations that drive ecological breakdown are all part of this same capitalist system.
Despite state violence and the power of the capitalist system, there has been fierce resistance from the past until the present by people in the global south as well as migrants across the world, whether that be struggling against borders, racism, powerful multinationals or environmental destruction. EHID is proud to join this long tradition in fighting for a more just and equal society.
We are calling for a universal right to life, where everyone has the right to live and migrate to where they want, and the right not to be forced from their homes and families – whether by indefinite detention at the Heathrow centres or elsewhere or by climate change and profit-driven developments like the third runway at Heathrow airport. In the words of the journalist Ben Ehrenreich, the only alternative to open borders in the context of climate breakdown is “the death of millions, and a world fractured by nationalism.” For this reason, we call for no third runway and no detention centres.
- Europe’s most deprived areas ‘hit hardest by air pollution’. Arthur Nelsen, The Guardian, 4 February 2019.
- Mitie: company profile 2018. Corporate Watch, 28 June 2018.
- Open borders must be part of any response to the climate crisis. Ben Ehrenreich, The Nation, 6 June 2019.
- Power beyond borders. Cameron Joshi, Red Pepper, 7 July 2019.