Steve Cohen

Greater Manchester Collection of Steve Cohen, lawyer and anti deportation campaigner, 1975-1996.

Sadly, after a long and painful illness, Steve Cohen died in March of this year. He had dedicated his life to anti-racism and anti-Semitism, particularly the welfare of immigrants and refugees and those seeking the right to remain in the UK. Educated at Oxford University, Steve became a human-rights lawyer in Manchester, founding a Law Centre and creating the Immigration Aid Unit. He was politically opposed to immigration controls in their totality and took part in many anti-deportation and immigration campaigns both as a lawyer and a campaigner. The collection he deposited at the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre in 2001 highlights this work, and dates especially from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The collection comprises 12 archival boxes divided into different material types including newspaper cuttings, leaflets, newsletters, videos, posters, photographs, and also t-shirts, banners and badges. The archive details over 70 of Manchester's anti-deportation and immigration campaigns, including those of Anwar Ditta, Viraj Mendis, Nasira Begum and the Okolo family and shows the grass roots nature of these campaigns.

Despite his illness, Steve Cohen continued to write about immigration and campaigned for immigrants' rights, founding the 'No One is Illegal' Group in September 2003. He changed the lives of many of the people he helped and it is a fitting tribute that his collection is May's special feature for the Archives Hub. If you would like to look at the archive or some of his publications, many of which are listed below, please contact the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre on 0161 275 2920.

Image of a demo rally poster Image of a campaign poster Image of an anti deportation campaign poster

These images were provided by the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre, who hold the copyright.

This month we highlight the description for the Greater Manchester Collection of Steve Cohen, lawyer and anti deportation campaigner, 1975-1996, and the collections of Amnesty International , the Bernie Grant Archive, the Papers of the Institute of Jewish Affairs and collections at the University of East London . There are also links to selected websites and some suggested reading.

Collection descriptions

Suggested reading

Links are provided to records on Copac for these items. The Copac library catalogue gives free access to the merged online catalogues of major University, Specialist, and National Libraries in the UK and Ireland, including the British Library. For more information about accessing items see the FAQs on the Copac website.


  • Steve Cohen, That's funny, you don't look anti-semitic: an anti-racist analysis of left anti-semitism. (Manchester: Beyond the Pale Publications, 1984) Records on Copac
  • Steve Cohen, Immigration controls, the family and the welfare state: a handbook of law, theory, politics and practice for local authority, voluntary sector and welfare state workers. (London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2001) Records on Copac
  • Steve Cohen, No one is illegal: asylum and immigration control past and present. (Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books Ltd, 2003) Records on Copac
  • Steve Cohen, Debra Hayes and Beth Humphries, Social work, immigration and asylum: debates, dilemmas and ethical issues for social work and social care practice. (London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2004) Records on Copac
  • Steve Cohen, Standing on the shoulders of fascism: from immigration control to the strong state. (Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books Ltd, 2006) Records on Copac
  • Steve Cohen, Deportation is freedom!: the Orwellian world of immigration controls. (London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2006) Records on Copac


  • Steve Cohen and Nadia Siddiqi, What would you do if your fiancée went to the moon? (Manchester: Manchester immigration wives and fiancées campaign, Manchester city council, 1985)
  • Steve Cohen, It's the same old story: immigration controls against Jewish, Black and Asian people, with special reference to Manchester, (Manchester: Manchester City Council Public Relations Office, 1987)
  • Steve Cohen, From the Jews to the Tamils: Britain's mistreatment of refugees. (Manchester: Manchester Law Centre, 1988)
  • Steve Cohen, Hard act to follow: the immigration act 1988. (Manchester: South Manchester Law Centre, 1989)
  • Steve Cohen, Imagine there's no countries: 1992 and international immigration controls against migrants, immigrants and refugees. (Manchester: Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, 1992)
  • Steve Cohen, Still resisting after all these years; a century of international struggles against immigration controls 1895-1995. (Manchester: Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, 1995)
  • Steve Cohen, Marilyn Taylor, Nadia Siddiqui, What's love got to do with it?: racism, sexuality and immigration controls, (Manchester: Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, 1997)
  • Steve Cohen and Debra Hayes, They make you sick: essays on immigration controls and health, (Manchester: Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, 1998)

Teaching Resources:

  • Steve Cohen, Campaign against double punishment: resource pack,(Manchester: campaign against double punishment, 1998)
  • Steve Cohen, Children, the family and immigration controls, (Manchester: Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, 1998)


  • Luke Angel, Case against immigration controls: anti-deportation campaigns in 1980s Britain, (Manchester, University of Manchester, 2006)
  • Luke Angel, Interview with Steve Cohen on Viraj Mendis Defence Campaign, 2006, (Manchester: University of Manchester, 2006)

Related links

  • Manchester Archives and Local Studies: Central Reference library, Manchester: Bishop of Manchester collection - Viraj Mendis files (M289/7071) Restricted access
  • Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre: Vinod Chauhan campaign (DD289)
  • Guardian: Immigration and asylum: provides access to a collection of news stories relating to the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK which have been taken from the Guardian newspaper. These cover a range of topics including: case studies of individual refugees, immigration law, illegal immigrants and the social welfare and detention of immigrants. Intute
  • Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants: (JCWI) is an independent UK based organisation which works to achieve justice for immigrants and asylum seekers to the UK. It also has the full-text of a number of fact sheets which provide basic information on current British immigration and nationality laws. Intute
  • Minorities of Europe: Minorities of Europe (MoE) was established in 1995 and has member organisations in a number of European countries. MoE was established as a result of the Council of Europe's campaign against racism, anti-semitism, xenophobia and intolerance across the continent of Europe. Intute
  • No One is Illegal: (NOII) UK website that challenges the ideology of immigration controls and campaigns for their total abolition. Website include full-text of the 'no-one is illegal' series of pamphlets.
  • Origination: provides a gateway to websites that help to document immigrant cultures' present in Britain. Intute
  • Racial Violence in Greater Manchester: a research paper published in 2002 as part of the ESRC's Violence Research Programme. Intute
    [PDF - requires the free Acrobat reader]
  • Racism review: thoughts on racism, culture, society, politics: US blog established to "provide a credible and reliable source of information for journalists, students and members of the general public who are seeking solid evidence-based research and analysis" of racism, ethnicity, and immigration. Intute
  • Sussex Centre for Migration Research : Working Papers: provides access to the full-text of a series of working papers published by the Sussex Centre for Migration Research at the University of Sussex from 2000 onwards. Intute
  • TANDIS: Tolerance and non-discrimination information system: created by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to provide a central information point on issues to tolerance and non-discrimination in OSCE member states. Topics covered include: anti-semitism in Europe; hate crime; homophobia; racial discrimination; Roma and travellers; sexual discrimination; freedom of religion; intolerance and extremism on the Internet. Intute
  • United Kingdom: Human Rights Watch documents: maintained by leading human rights group Human Rights Watch. It provides free access to press releases, briefing papers, and full text reports relating to human rights and civil liberties in Britain. Intute
  • Voices on anti-semitism: a podcast series: maintained by the United States Holocaust Museum. It provides free access to a collection of audio interviews of personal reflections on Anti-semitism in the modern world which were recorded during 2006/7. They include contributions from eminent political scientists and Jewish Holocaust survivors. Intute

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