Socialist Worker

Tories’ racist migrant plan is a death sentence for refugees

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2717

The UK Border Force intercepting a small boat in the English Channel on Monday

The UK Border Force intercepting a small boat in the English Channel on Monday. The Tories are scaremongering over boat crossings as they want to make it harder for refugees to come to Britain (Pic: PA)


The government is using racist scapegoating against desperate refugees trying to cross the English Channel and reach safety.

The Tories this week intend to develop a “battle plan” with their French counterparts.

Ministers claim a “flood” of migrants wants to “break in” to Britain. There is no flood of people from the makeshift refugee camps in northern France.

The total number of refugees who made it across the channel reached 3,950 since the beginning of the year.

Germany and France receive over twice the number of asylum applications a year as Britain.

Just 0.6 percent of the British population is made up of people who came seeking asylum.

Hundreds of refugees who have fled war, poverty and dictatorship live in makeshift settlements across northern France and Belgium.

Home Office minister Tory Chris Philp and French interior minister Gerald Darmanin met in Paris on Tuesday.

Philp said the aim of the meeting was to “stop these illegal migrants from getting in the water in the first place”.

A spokesperson for the French interior minister said, “A battle plan against the illegal sea crossings, drawn up in collaboration with the British authorities, is in the process of being finalised.”

The Tories are ­militarising the border.

Home secretary Priti Patel has asked the Royal Navy to stop refugees coming on small boats across the channel.

According to a Whitehall source quoted in the Times newspaper, one method being discussed is “push back”.

“Australia does an operation they call ‘push back’ and it has been successful,” the source said.

“It is one option we are looking at.”

Lethal

This potentially lethal move would see the Royal Navy block boats from coming into British waters and turn them back. Patel whined that once boats reach Britain “we’re duty bound to help”.

A source added, “At the moment our patrols are not able to turn them back if they think there is a ­potential risk to life.”

It’s a disgraceful ­admission that the Tory plans will put lives at risk.

Patel has also appointed a former Royal Marine commando as a “clandestine Channel threat commander” to make the route “unviable”.

One of commander Dan O’Mahoney’s deployments was in Iraq.

Many refugees, including some in northern France, have fled the country because of the chaos unleashed by the West’s invasion.

O’Mahoney is expected to push the French authorities to take a harder line against refugees.

Refugees already face daily police harassment in ­northern France

And police brutality and camp clearances have increased since Darmanin was appointed interior minister at the beginning of July.

He is a vicious right winger, a former Tory who is now part of president Emmanuel Macron’s neoliberal party.

Darmanin has called police brutality “legitimate violence”. He said allegations of brutality made him “choke”, echoing the words of a man who was murdered by cops in January.

The Tories want to deflect blame for their failures onto people fleeing war, ­dictatorship and poverty.

Ministers claim there is an “invasion” of “illegal migrants”. But undocumented migrants have a right to claim asylum.

And despite a decade of Tory attacks on welfare, right wingers ridiculously claim that refugees come to live off benefits. Once someone applies for asylum, they are denied the right to work.

They have to survive on £37.75 a week.

Labour should be slamming the government’s racism. Instead it has largely been silent.

The Tories and bosses—not refugees and migrants—are to blame for the hammering of working class living standards, the coronavirus crisis and the looming slump.

We must reject their racist lies about refugees crossing the English Channel.

Police and border guards’ brutality will not deter desperate people. It will only make their lives harder and the journey across the ­channel deadlier.

The only solution is to open the border and let them in safely.


Lies over ‘smugglers’

The Tories claim they are targeting people smugglers, not refugees.

Home secretary Priti Patel said, “We are working to address many of these long-standing issues and make this route unviable by arresting the criminals facilitating these crossings and making sure they’re brought to justice.”

Smugglers are small-time gangsters who profit from racist border regimes in Britain and the European Union. But the chief criminals who enable it are in Whitehall.

Refugees would not have to rely on traffickers if they could take safe and legal routes to Britain.

Making the routes even deadlier will not lead to fewer traffickers.

Instead it will push more desperate people into the hands of the smugglers.


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