Tuesday 5 October 2021
Home Secretary Priti Patel was accused of being out of touch with reality following her speech to the Conservatives’ annual conference today, as she decried the “damage to our labour market” from immigration, while the fuel crisis continues and labour shortages increasingly threaten the NHS and other key public services.
Patel devoted a considerable portion of her speech to depicting the majority of those claiming asylum as economic migrants, arguing asylum should be denied to those who enter the country illegally and repeating her plan to “turn back the boats”.
However refugee organisations have repeatedly pointed out that the vast majority of asylum claims come from countries listed by the Global Peace Index as the most dangerous in the world, and that because there is no safe legal route to enter Britain for most refugees, the majority have no choice but to seek unsafe routes. Refusing to bring those arriving by boat to shore will only lead to futher deaths.
Patel aslo boasted of having deported nearly 8,500 “foreign national offenders,” claiming to have done so to protect victims. However passenger lists of deportation flights have shown deportees have overwhelmingly been convicted of minor offences and have already served their sentence.
Sabby Dhalu, Stand Up To Racism co convenor, said
“Priti Patel’s speech to Tory Conference bizarrely complained of the “damage to our labour market” from immigration, while the country sinks deeper into a crisis caused by a shortage of workers. We need immigration for our economy and public services to function, but this Government is putting racism ahead of ensuring a functioning society.
“Patel’s claim that just because an asylum seeker has moved through a safe country they should not be given asylum is contradicted by logic, morality and the UN Convention on refugees. The UK takes far fewer asylum applications than other countries in Europe, but for some refugees rebuilding their life in Britain is more viable due to family ties and speaking English.
“It is morally reprehensible to turn back boats, risking the lives of those who have already fled war and persecution, while also refusing to provide safe and legal routes to claim asylum. Patel’s speech must be condemned, and MPs must vote against the Nationality and Borders Bill.
Weyman Bennett, Stand Up To Racism co convenor, said:
“Priti Patel’s speech was the latest in a series of diatribes attempting to dehumanise asylum seekers and whip up racism against “foreign criminals,” while attempting justify some of the most inhumane legislation to be put before Parliament in generations.
“Britain already takes a much smaller proportion of refugees than other European countries, and this Government’s vicious “hostile environment” policy ruined thousands of lives. It’s vital all who value the contribution of migrants and want Britain to play a role in providing sanctuary work together to defeat the Nationality and Borders Bill.
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