Socialist Worker

Border controls mean slavery and death

Issue No. 2577

A year on, thousands of people are still in Calais and Dunkirk

A year on, thousands of people are still in Calais and Dunkirk (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Tuesday marked one year since the demolition of the “jungle” refugee camp by cops in Calais.And one year on the refugee crisis is as bad as ever.

As Socialist Worker showed last week, Britain’s border fence in Calais means desperate people are locked out. It is part of the European Union and Britain’s cruel regime against migrants.

A report by the International Organisation for Migration released last month shows that death rates for migrants crossing the Mediterranean have almost doubled since September last year.

And, if people make it to Britain past the border guards, they can expect even more brutality.

A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services released on Tuesday slams the cops for failing to investigate “modern day slavery”.

The report lifts a lid on the racism that courses through the police force.

Cops told inspectors they thought the public “don’t want to know about it and only see it as an issue if it affects them”.

The police are to blame, and the systemic nature of racism means they get away with it.

The Gangmasters Licencing Authority, set up by New Labour, investigates “modern day slavery”.

It is staffed largely by former cops. It works with the UK Border Agency and often deports people who come forward with information—that’s why few people do.

Hypocritical politicians often say they want to “get tough” on “modern day slavery”.

Their solution rests on increasing immigration controls.

But that does not mean there will be less immigration. It just forces people to take more dangerous routes and rely on people smugglers, which increases the likelihood of being forced into slavery.

If politicians were sincere about eradicating the problem, they would grant deportation amnesties to people who come forward with information.

Last week’s Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) conference showed there’s a mood to organise and fight back against all manifestations of racism (see pages 10&11).

Everyone should build on the momentum generated by the SUTR conference.

There has never been a more important time to be involved in an international fight against racism.

Fighting against Islamophobia, antisemitism and arguing for an end to immigration controls are critical tasks for socialists.

We need to continue fighting the Tories and others who deny refugees a right to safety.

At the conference there was a sense of urgency that can be taken back to workplaces and colleges across Britain.

We need to build a movement that can undermine the racism the system rests on.


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