Socialist Worker

Tories unveil new crackdown on migrants and refugees

by Isabel Ringrose
Issue No. 2756

Tory home secretary Priti Patel

Tory home secretary Priti Patel is pushing through attacks on migrants (Pic: Flickr/Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street)


Tory home secretary Priti Patel has set out yet another round of racist immigration plans.

Her announcement on Monday for a US-style digital visa system will toughen Britain’s border policy and harden criminal punishments for overstaying on outdated visas.

Patel claims this will make it easier to prevent “threats” and secure control of borders to assess who is entering and exiting.

These plans come after an increase in dawn raids, in places such as Glasgow.

Those entering Britain without a visa will have to apply for an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) that automatically determines a visitor’s eligibility. It also means a charge for entry to non-British citizens.

The government says the fully digital ETA scheme will be fully in place by the end of 2024.

In a virtual speech on Monday, Patel spewed her usual rhetoric of fixing Britain’s “broken asylum system” and called on “fake myths and assertions” to be ignored.

“We will have a far clearer picture of who is here, and whether they should be—and we will act when they are not,” Patel said.

But the myths come directly from Patel and the Tories who claim Britain is overrun with “illegal immigrants” stealing taxpayers' money.

Status

Patel has already unveiled plans that will for the first time determine an asylum seeker’s immigration status based on how they travelled to Britain, and if they went through a “safe country”.

The Tories hope refugees will then be deported back to these countries.

Patel also said they want to make it easy for “skilled” workers to enter Britain by changing how workers are sponsored by employers. This is to encourage a divide between supposed good and bad migrants.

The Tories continue to claim to be tightening border controls to punish people smugglers, but harsher border controls don’t deter vulnerable and desperate refugees from attempting to enter Britain.

Patel added that neither herself nor bigot prime minister Boris Johnson are anti-immigration. Yet she responded to protests in Glasgow by claiming that the “British public” had voted for such deportations.

The protests saw two refugees temporarily saved from deportation, who Patel says the Home Office will continue to pursue. Despite her claims, neither man has a criminal record.

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“For too long we have been frustrated by those who know how to play the system,” Patel said in her speech on Monday.

“I have a message to those who seek to disrupt our enforcement officers—they should think about whether their actions may be preventing murderers, rapists or high-harm offenders from being removed from our community.”

Brandishing refugees as criminals is part of the top-down racist trope to scapegoat migrants.

It’s crucial workers, trade unionists and anti-racists are out in full force to take the knee for Stand Up to Racism and the TUC union federation’s day of action on Tuesday this week.

The anniversary of the police murder of George Floyd will see many mobilisations of people opposing the Tories’ racism.

Find out more about the SUTR and TUC action here.

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