Socialist Worker

After woman is deported from Britain - resist the Tory wave of racism

Deportations, attacks on refugees and plans to end European Union freedom of movement rules show the Tories true face—but they can be challenged, writes Dave Sewell

Issue No. 2543

A UK Border Agency ship - the Tories are clamping down on migrants

A UK Border Agency ship - the Tories are clamping down on migrants (Pic: grassrootsgroundswell/flickr)


Grim confirmation of the cruelty of Britain’s racist laws came this week as a woman was deported despite living here for 30 years.

Irene Clennell was “forcibly removed” to Singapore on Sunday with just £12 in her pocket and no chance to consult her lawyer or say goodbye to her British husband.

She had leave to remain, but lost it after she went to care for her dying parents in Singapore.

Tightened rules on visas for spouses require couples to prove “uninterrupted” residence.

However campaigning can make a difference and there was good news this week that another deportation had been halted.

Shiromini Satkunarajah, was arrested last week and was set to be put on a plane to the country of her birth, Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

Late on Monday night the Home Office confirmed the removal had been deferred and Satkunarajah and her mother were freed from Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre.

The decision followed a campaign with over 100,000 people signing a petition calling for daughter and mother to be allowed to stay.

But the tide of racism from the Tories and the establishment is growing.

Tory MP Pauline Latham said in a parliamentary debate last week that critics of the government’s decision to close the door on refugee children from Calais should “stop being sentimental”.

Meanwhile the Supreme Court last week rejected a legal challenge to rules that say British citizens must earn at least £18,600 a year in order to apply for foreign-born spouses to join them.

There has even been speculation this week that freedom of movement rights for new migrants from the EU could be ended in as little as two weeks.

Exits

Home secretary Amber Rudd said on Saturday that “we will be leaving free movement as we know it” after Britain exits the EU.

Some government sources suggested this process of removing rights could start as soon as parliament passes the government’s bill to implement Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

This is expected to occur around 15 March.

However other sources said removing freedom of movement would be delayed until later

All this takes place even though the Tories know full well that migrant workers are essential to the economy.

Faced with lobbying from big business, Brexit secretary David Davis said it will take “years and years” to do without EU migrants.

But the bosses will not hold the Tories back.

May and the rich use racism and nationalism, particularly as a way to divert resentment at austerity and economic crisis.

Building the biggest possible turnout on the Stand Up To Racism 18 March demonstrations in London, Glasgow, and Cardiff is essential to resist the Tories’ clampdown.

Stand Up To Racism joint secretary Weyman Bennett told Socialist Worker, “We must stop Theresa May from stealing the clothes of Ukip and Donald Trump, and using racism to try and win votes.

“We must stand in solidarity with all migrants and EU workers.”


Fatal border laws mean over 100 people died last week

Refugees, volunteers and activists gathered in Calais, northern France, last week for the funeral of the latest victim of Britain’s border controls.

Ethiopian refugee John Sina, born Jamal Saami Humad, was killed on the A16 motorway trying to get into Britain on 21 January.

He was just 20 years old.

Despite the destruction of the Calais “jungle” refugees, including many young people, have returned to Calais in desperation.

He’s not the only one killed by politicians’ refusal to allow safe, legal migration to desperate refugees.

A plaque was unveiled in nearby Norrent-Fontes the previous week in memory of Mohammed Elsareg, a Sudanese refugee beaten to death by traffickers last year.

A man electrocuted on the roof of a train from Italy into France became the sixth such death in recent months last week.

The worst tragedies were in Libya.

Some 74 bodies washed up near the western city of Zawiya, and more than 45 people drowned near the town of Al-Motrad.

At least 12 migrants seeking to reach Europe died and others were hospitalised from suffocation and crushing after being found locked in a shipping container at the city of Al-Khums.

These deaths are the known consequence of a policy of border closures that forces refugees to risk their lives in the sea, the desert or in the hands of exploitative traffickers.

And they will continue until the borders are opened.


'Pretend you're straight' gay Afghan refugees told

New Home Office guidelines say gay asylum seekers can be deported to Afghanistan—where homosexuality is illegal and “wholly taboo”—because they can pretend to be straight.

Both the Afghan state and Taliban rebels ban homosexuality.

The document admits that lesbians and men “with what may be seen as feminine traits” would be at serious risk.

But those gay men who “would not attract or seek to cause public outrage” would face no “real risk”.

The conclusion is that “it may be a safe and viable option” to deport them.

Britain’s wars turned Afghanistan into a hellhole.

But it seems there’s no level the government won’t stoop to in order to stop Afghans fleeing it.

The Tory government is constantly seeking new methods—however spurious—to declare that countries are “safe” and that therefore there is no need for asylum claims.

The result will be further oppression.


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