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Tory plan to tag, harass and deport refugees

As they prepare for another Rwanda deportation flight, the Tories are planning to electronically tag refugees, reports Isabel Ringrose
Issue 2810
refugees Tories demo

Protesters last week at a protest against deportations of refugees to Rwanda (pic: Guy Smallman)

The Tories continue to ramp up their attacks on migrants and refugees despite their thwarted deportation flight to Rwanda on Tuesday of last week. People claiming asylum in Britain and waiting for official refugee status—an arduous process that takes years—could be electronically tagged.

A 12-month pilot scheme that began last Wednesday will see those arriving in small boats or on the back of lorries monitored by the Home Office. The first people likely to be tagged are those who avoided deportation to Rwanda after appeals were made to the European Court of Human Rights.

The first Rwandan deportation flight set to escalate the government’s assault on refugees did not take off last week. A series of legal challenges throughout the day pulled the remaining seven refugees off the flight.

Dozens more had already had their tickets cancelled following challenges. There were demonstrations against the flight at the Home Office, Rwanda House, Brook House and Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centres, the Royal Courts of Justice and MOD Boscombe Down. Stand Up To Racism held protests in many parts of Britain.

The cancellation of the flight was a victory, but the Tories aren’t giving up. And the threat of tagging will escalate the criminalisation of people coming to Britain. In a similar way to people leaving prison, asylum seekers will be monitored.

They will be forced to report in person to authorities and put under curfew or excluded from specific locations. Failure to adhere to strict rules could result in detention, prosecution or deportation.

Collecting data and ­following migrants’ movements creates excuses to deport and expands the hostile environment. Clare Moseley from the charity Care4Calais said, “I think it’s outrageous. Refugees in general do not abscond. They are here to claim asylum, so why would they? They’re not criminals, they’re victims.

“Things happen to them—they didn’t cause it. It’s just another part of the government ­criminalising refugees, which is basically victim-blaming.” Boris Johnson defended the plan last Saturday, boasting of Britain’s supposed generosity. He added that a distinction has to be made “when people come here illegally”.

This is despite the Afghan and Ukrainian refugee schemes—which offers some of the only legal routes into Britain—completely failing. Labour Party leader Keir Starmer played into the Tory lie that ­smugglers are the root of Britain’s asylum problem. He said, “What I want is a serious response.

“Everybody wants to clamp down on the gangs. That requires grownup work with the French authorities. “You don’t do that if you’re a government that is asking the National Crime Agency to make cuts.”

The Tories are seething that their deportation scheme has been halted and will hit back with harsher measures. Anti-racists must resist every racist policy and deportation.

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