By Isabel Ringrose
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Tories in trouble ramp up racism to split opposition

Issue 2788
A picture of Priti Patel

Patel and the Tories are ramping up attacks on refugees (Number 10)

Boris Johnson and home secretary Priti Patel are escalating their attacks on refugees as the Nationality and Borders bill nears its passage through parliament.
 
Johnson will use racism to try to divert attention from his rule-breaking. 
 
Part of Johnson’s “Operation Red Meat” to try to regain popularity is expected to give the Royal Navy ­“primacy” over government vessels in the Channel. 
 
The army and navy would be able to deploy ships, boats and surveillance equipment to support Border Force officers.
 
“Pushback” tactics” could also be deployed, including the use of boats or jet skis to stop and redirect boats to France.
 
Channel Rescue, a human rights group, warned last week that the  Border Force may have already begun implementing the Home Office’s lethal plans to push asylum seekers back across the Channel.
 
It said the government was ­rushing to implement the plans before the judicial reviews into the policy can stop it. The number of people crossing the Channel has risen. But this is because other options to reach Britain, such as boarding lorries, are not available.
 
A record 28,300 refugees crossed last year. So far 581 have made the life-threatening crossing this January—more than double last year.
This all points to a growing crisis of people forced to flee their homes and needing to claim asylum. 
 
Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi waded into the debate to say Patel’s borders bill will provide “a much better way of dealing with illegal migration”. 
 
He claims, “There are legal routes for migration”.
 
And the Tories are relentlessly pointing to people smugglers as the people who put lives at risk.
 
But it’s deadly border tactics that have already led to many Channel deaths, including a Sudanese man who died last Friday.
 
The French authorities said they found the man unconscious in the Channel after he fell overboard from a boat trying to reach Britain.
And as the failed refugee evacuation from Afghanistan has shown, there are no operating ­“official” routes into Britain.
 
It’s not just crossings that the Tories are making difficult. Child refugees are being forced to share rooms and beds with adults they do not know as hundreds are wrongly placed in over-18s accommodation.
 
Unaccompanied refugees who say they are children are ignored and forced to share rooms for weeks and months. 
 
This leads them to contemplate suicide or running away. One Ethiopian girl, aged 16, was repeatedly raped on her way to Britain and packed in a mixed‑­gender hotel with adult men on her arrival. Home Office staff judged her to be 23.
 
Since September 2020, 421 cases of “doubted minors” in hotels have been reported by charity Care4Calais.

Patel claims adults “blatantly abuse” the asylum system by lying about their ages. The Tories are the blatant abusers of human rights.


Citizenship stripped under new rules

The Home Office wants to send more people back to dangerous countries they have fled from.
 
Refugees from countries hit hard by war and conflict, such as Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria, are being told to return and having their asylum claims rejected.
 
A 36 year old from Yemen and a 21 year-old from Afghanistan have had their asylum claims thrown out on the basis they are not at risk in their home countries.
 
This follows a 25 year old Syrian being forced to return after seeking asylum in May 2020. 
 
He had fled forced conscription into Bashar al‑Assad’s army in 2017.
 
He says if he returns, he will be targeted as a draft evader, arrested, detained, and killed.
 
The Home Office then sent a letter to the man’s lawyers retracting its decision and granting asylum.
 
The refugee from Yemen was refused a claim in June 2021 because officials “do not accept there are problems in Yemen”.
 
The accountant, who is married with two children, has physical and mental health problems. The letter claims there is “a substantial public health programme in Yemen”.
 
In reality, parts of Yemen do not have any functioning health infrastructure. And the Afghan man who arrived aged 16 after fleeing conscription by the Taliban has had his refugee status removed because of a cannabis related conviction.
 
The Home Office has also been forced to reinstate the citizenship of a British man who was left stateless for nearly five years.
 
Since his removal the man has had a daughter, who the Home Office is refusing to accept as a British citizen.
 
Under the Tories’ new borders bill, citizenship can be stripped without notice or reasoning.

Join the anti-racist fight 

Anti-racists across Britain are preparing for events called by Stand Up To Racism (SUTR). On Saturday 5 February, the TUC union federation and SUTR are holding a trade union conference. 
 
Workers will discuss how to organise workplace resistance to the attacks on refugees, institutional racism and the top down divide and rule of workers.
 
The conference will be in the lead up to SUTR’s protests to mark UN-anti-racism day.
 
Demonstrations on 19 March in London and Glasgow, and 20 March in Cardiff, will see thousands of people take to the streets for the first time since the pandemic began.
 
Anti-racists will march in a show of defiance under the slogan, World Against Racism and Fascism. The international day of action will also see protests take place across Europe, and many other parts of the world.
 
Building for these events is crucial to show the anti-racist movement is back on the streets. A mass movement is needed to challenge the racism spewed from Boris Johnson’s government.
 

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