The far right is expanding across Europe and the Americas. The combination of climate crises and decades of military and economic intervention in the Global South is driving tens of millions from their homes. Meanwhile, the border industry swells with the profits of this devastation. Now more than ever is time to fight back and build a world without borders where all have the right to move, stay and thrive.
We are a student movement fighting to get our universities to divest from companies that profit from the border regime and from the human rights abuses inflicted on migrating people at borders in the UK and across the globe.
Our universities directly profit from the border industry and the cruelty it inflicts on migrating people through investments in the companies that enthusiastically make border injustices possible.
Companies such as G4S, Accenture, Serco, Mitie, TUI Fly and many others have been more than willing to cash in on the growing business of running detention centres and prisons, of ripping families and friends apart through deportations, and of surveilling racialised communities under the UK's hostile environment policies.
Universities' complicity in the border industry is two-fold. First, many universities hold significant investments in these companies, spending tuition fees - a significant chunk of which are paid by migrant students - to help the border industry profit from the suffering of others. Second, university investments give border industry companies a 'social license to operate' - a sense of respectability that comes from association with universities.
Students and staff across the UK under the banner of People & Planet’s Divest Borders campaign are fighting to get universities to cut ties with this abusive industry. We are calling upon all UK universities to:
- Adopt a publicly available ethical investment policy which excludes border industry companies
- Exclude border industry companies from their investments
- Fully divest from current investments in border companies within 3 years
We need you to show your support and demand that universities to divest from the border industry. Will you add your voice to the movement?
How to get involved
Join the movement! Use the form below to let us know who you are and which university you’re based at. We’ll get in touch soon after to let you know how you can get involved at your university, and how you can take action and get involved with the campaign further.
Sign our petition to show universities that you support our demands. We need to make it clear to universities that their complicity in border violence is unacceptable and that there will be costs to maintaining these relationships.
Are you a worker at a university who opposes the role that your employer is playing in upholding violence against people who move? Read, sign and share our open letter calling on universities to break all ties with the border industry!
Get informed! Read through our campaign introduction for more details on the context and strategy of the campaign. Get in touch if you have any questions!
Our vision is a world free from borders, where arbitrary characteristics have no impact whatsoever on opportunities and outcomes. A no borders world is currently distant and fuzzy, but no vision of justice can include violence enacted upon vulnerable, racialised people in order to control, monitor and prevent their movement. If we are able to bring about a world free from border violence, the onward path to a world free from borders will be much shorter and clearer.
To achieve this we are targeting the network of private companies who enact and profit from the countless injustices relating to detention, deportation, use of force and surveillance of migrants. UK universities are deeply entangled in this industry, with their investments, research and partnerships forming a crucial link in the production and legitimation of border violence. While university investment in the border industry can be seen as explicit approval of such cruelty, a commitment from such institutions to divest from these practices would be a huge statement delegitimising the industry and stigmatising those who participate in and profit from it.
We need liberated institutions that allow us the space and freedom to imagine and build a more just society. Divestment from the border industry is one piece of that puzzle. In solidarity with the struggles of staff, migrants, anti-arm, anti-racist and BDS campaigners at universities, we can together work towards truly liberated, revolutionary futures.
We will build power to abolish detention and deportations for good.
This starts with dismantling the border industry.
To uphold racist borders, the UK government is highly dependent on companies who detain and deport people at massive profit margins. Even during a global pandemic, the Home Office continued holding migrants in unsafe conditions across the UK’s detention centres and deporting thousands of people in secretly planned deportation flights. And the border industry continues profiting from it.
It is the government who creates harmful, racist ‘hostile environment’ immigration policies, but the implementation of this cruelty is increasingly outsourced to the private sector. Thus the border regime relies on a vast network of hundreds of companies to provide and develop the technologies and labour required to make the hostile environment a reality. Some of the companies most deeply entangled in the UK Border Regime include Accenture, IBM, British Airways, Vinci/Eurovia, Raytheon and Thales.
Frontline communities have been resisting border violence in a plethora of ways, and there are a number of strategies we can take. One method is to reduce the willingness and ability of the companies to continue enacting border violence on behalf of the home office. We cannot demolish the companies, but we can destroy their reputations and their relationships with the state.
We are demanding that all universities divest from all companies implicated in border violence. This means the withdrawal of all investments from any companies engaged in or supporting violence relating to detention, deportation, surveillance or the use of force in border control. Alongside this (and for any institutions without existing investments in border violence) we demand all universities commit to abstaining from any future investments in the border industry and set up exclusion criteria to compel such behaviour.
"A WALL IS JUST A
WALL AND NOTHING
MORE AT ALL. IT CAN
BE BROKEN DOWN."
- Assata Shakur