By Isabel Ringrose
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2834

Report says lock refugees up—and the Tories back it 

This article is over 1 years, 2 months old
The Tories have backed a new report from a right wing think tank that calls for refugees to be locked up for crossing to Britain
Issue 2834
refugees migrants Tories

The Tories are accelerating assaults on refugees (Picture: Guy Smallman)

A new report wants refugees who come to Britain via “illegal” routes to be locked up—and home ­secretary Suella Braverman backs it. The report by right wing think tank Centre for Policy Studies calls for asylum seekers to be indefinitely detained and banned if they arrive illegally.

It also called for more ­deportation flights to Rwanda and other countries.  And it wants to make it ­impossible to claim asylum after travelling from a so-called “safe country,” as well as introducing identity cards.  The foreword, written by Braverman, claims the British public is “fed up with the continued ­flouting of our laws and immigration rules to game our asylum system”.

This comes weeks after Braverman couldn’t explain to a select committee how refugees can legally claim asylum in Britain. Instead, she said, “If you’re able to get to the UK you’re able to put in an application for asylum.” This would require coming to Britain in ways the Tories slam as illegal—such as crossing the Channel via boats.

Braverman also wrote that her stance to tackle the number of boats doesn’t mean she or Rishi Sunak are “anti-immigration”. She added that there had been a “persistent abuse of human rights laws to thwart the removal of those with no right to be in the UK”.

In reality these laws are used to stop deportations that amount to human rights violations. Braverman said she didn’t agree with everything in the report but called it a “vital and necessary contribution”. She also backed a plan to introduce a cap on asylum seekers to just 20,000 a year.

The report, co-authored by Theresa May’s former advisor Nick Timothy, also wants to pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights to allow for more detentions and off-shoring. Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper criticised the Tories’ plan. But she only went as far as slamming Tory plans as “just chaos, and it is clear no one has a grip”.

Her solution wasn’t to welcome refugees. Instead, she added, “They should adopt Labour’s plan, including a specialist unit in the National Crime Agency to go after the ­criminal gangs that are driving this.” 

The report follows immigration minister Robert Jenrick appearing on the right wing GB News channel to call for Albanians to be excluded from the right to claim asylum. Sunak has met with Albanian prime minister Edi Rama to discuss closing “loopholes” preventing the return of failed asylum claims.

Jenrick called the country “demonstrably safe”, and said that student visas are a “backdoor way” of bringing dependents and settling.  He added that the ­government must look at how people are treated on arrival “so that nobody thinks that coming to the UK is a soft touch”.

Refugee Hussein Haseeb Ahmed, aged 31, died after catching diphtheria while held in Manston ­processing centre. More cases are now being recorded. This is the reality of Tory immigration rules.  Anti-racists can’t wait around to find out how much crueller the Tories get. Refugees come to Britain for a safer and better life—and they should be able to regardless of reason or background.

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