Blog: How you can help Mark Harper’s cleaner

Her name is Isabella Acevado. She is Colombian. She was paid £22 a week to clean and iron at the house of Mark Harper, who, until his resignation this week, was immigration minister.

That is all we know about her.

Since Harper fell on his sword on Sunday, there has been a great deal of speculation about his personality ("honourable", "holding himself to high standards") and future prospects ("I hope very much that you will be able to return to the frontbench" the PM wrote). Very little has been speculated about the woman he used to employ. On This Week last night, Andrew Neil referred to her simply as "an illegal". It is language as a closed door, a block on empathy.

Acevado is not making contact with journalists. Sources close to her tell me she feels as if she is "inside a washing machine". She is surrounded by press demands and legal threats and has lost her income.

But two people have decided that she is not just 'an illegal'. Trenton Oldfield and Deepa Naik have started a legal defence fund for her. They are trying to raise £10,000 to fight her legal battle.

Of course, we do not know her circumstances or details of her case. But Acevado is important beyond the bare facts of her life. Supporting her shows that we believe that immigrants, documented and undocumented, are real flesh and blood human beings. They are not objects or problems.

They are entitled to legal defence, regardless of circumstances. They are entitled to something more than year upon year of washing rich men's toilets, ironing rich men's clothes, cleaning rich men's bed sheets. They are entitled to something more than constantly having their papers checked, being summarily dismissed, reported to the authorities, written off as "an illegal" and, in all likelihood, detained and forcibly deported.

One of the reasons the Home Office feels it can get away with any level of depravity in its treatment of undocumented immigrants is because all the pressure is from the other direction. Whenever you call the Home Office about immigration matters, they are at pains to demonstrate how tough they are. That is the only pressure they know: to be more severe, more draconian, more heartless. It's about time they faced pressure from the other direction. It's about time they felt burdened to prove their sensitivity.

Here is the donation page.

Visit it and offer a little money for Isabella Acevado. Drum up support on social media. Offer pro bono legal services if you are qualified. Sign up to attend court or an immigration tribunal to support her when the day comes. Help show that we know she is a person, not "an illegal".