FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon and 26 other Glasgow politicians have sent a letter to Priti Patel urging a stop to dawn raids.

The cross-party letter said there is “no support or place” for the Home Office and UK Government’s immigration plan in Scotland. 

It comes just over a week after hundreds of protestors forced the Home Office to release two men detained after a dawn raid in Pollokshields.

The signatories of the letter, dated May 21, also include Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader, Anne McLaughlin MP, SNP spokesperson on justice and immigration, as well as other MSPs, MPs and councillors for the Glasgow area. There were no signatures made by any of the Glasgow Tory representatives. 

The letter, addressed to Priti Patel, began by saying that the cross-party group all “deeply oppose” the UK Government’s New Plan for Immigration and oppose immigration enforcement raids taking place in Scotland. 

The National:

The letter reads: “In Glasgow and in Scotland, we welcome New Scots. They are part of us, our communities and our city. This was very evident last week when your department chose to deploy immigration enforcement teams to arrest and detain two people in Pollokshields. You will have seen the hundreds of people who turned up and spent the day expressing their opposition to these attempts. 
“This was no surprise to any of the signatories to this letter. Pollokshields is one of Glasgow’s most enduring and diverse communities, home to generations of people from across social backgrounds, ethnicities, faiths and beliefs. It is a community. 

READ MORE: Glasgow triumphant as Home Office forced to back down on dawn raid detentions

“They, and we, do not support these raids at any time - indeed, we are proud to say that for more than a decade, regardless of who has been in power in Scotland, there has been cross party opposition to dawn raids. They are expensive, harmful, lacking in compassion and more often than not aimed at people who are no threat to public safety.”

The letter went on to point out that the Kenmure Street raid in Pollokshields, Glasgow, which led to protestors surrounding a Home Office immigration enforcement van, until the two men who had been detained were finally released, was the “worst possible time” to have instructed the raid.

It said that not only was the raid undertaken as the community in Pollokshields was celebrating  Eid al-Fitr, and witnessing the detention was “extremely depressing” for residents.

The National:

The letter continued: “And, of course, Glasgow (and in particular, Pollokshields) is facing an escalation of positive Covid-19 cases so to provoke people into coming out and mixing with hundreds of other households is as unforgivable as it is dangerous.

“As the First Minister of Scotland and constituency MSP, Nicola Sturgeon has called on you and your department to reflect on some 'hard questions' after last Thursday’s events. We urge you to extend those reflections to the New Plan for Immigration itself, as more than 75 Scottish organisations, including the Scottish Refugee Council, advised weeks ago. Like dawn raids, your New Plan simply has no support or place here in Scotland.”

The letter concluded by asking exactly how many dawn raids had been deployed in Scotland this year, and urged the Home Office to “rethink” their approach as there are “better and more humane ways to treat people”. 

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.