Tory home secretary Priti Patel declared she was “unapologetic” as she prepared to push through deportations and ramp up the repression of refugees trying to cross the English Channel.
Around 50 people faced deportation to Jamaica on Wednesday, after Socialist Worker went to press.
One man on the flight fled persecution on the Caribbean island—and fears death if he’s forced to return. Many will be separated from their children.
The Home Office said it won’t now include people who came to Britain under the age of 12 on the deportation flight.
The Jamaican high commissioner Seth Ramocan said this deal came after its officials had contacted the Home Office.
But he stressed, “It’s not law, it’s a kind of understanding.”
The Stand Up to Racism group said, “The government is under pressure but it’s time to stop all the racist deportation flights and the ‘hostile environment’ policy that inspires them.”
Patel is using the charter flight to whip up a right wing, authoritarian backlash against migrants and black people.
She claimed “dangerous foreign criminals have no place in our society”.
The UK Borders Act 2007, pushed through by Tony Blair’s Labour government, made deportation automatic for any migrant who is sentenced to 12 months or more in prison.
Because of police and state racism, black and Asian people are much more likely to be handed harsher prison sentences.
Young black men are nine times more likely to be jailed in England and Wales than young whites, according to the Ministry of Justice’s own analysis in 2018.
Patel’s rhetoric is designed to reinforce stereotypes of migrants as criminals.
And it creates a false division between “good migrants” and “bad migrants”—which reinforces racism across society.
Meanwhile, Patel and French interior minister Gerald Darmanin signed a deal to clamp down on refugees trapped at Britain’s border in northern France.
Hundreds of refugees, who have fled war, dictatorship and poverty, live in squalid conditions in northern France. Britain and the European Union’s racist border regimes have forced them to rely on people smugglers and take dangerous routes across the English Channel.
Patel says the deal will double the number of French officers patrolling beaches. And, they will be given new equipment.
The French newspaper La Voix du Nord says it will involve “the use of drones and radars”.
It added the technology will be used against desperate people trying to cross and those “who are preparing to attempt the crossing”.
Darmanin is a vicious right winger who has called police brutality “legitimate violence”.
He said allegations against the police made him “choke”, echoing the words of Cedric Chouviat, a French man who was murdered by cops in January.
Police stepped up clearances in northern France after Darmanin’s appointment as interior minister in July.
More repression will only force refugees to take more dangerous routes.
Anti-racists have to fight against all deportations, detentions and tear down Britain’s racist immigration system.