Offshore processing of asylum seekers?

28 June 2021

More false flags from Priti Patel the home secretary, with her latest “plan” to send refugees somewhere far away while their applications are processed.

There is nothing she can do to stop asylum seekers arriving by small boats across the Channel. Successive British governments have been trying and it is just not possible, regardless of whether it is desirable. It is against international law to treat asylum seekers as criminals and, besides, there is nowhere in the world that will agree to host a prison-processing centre.

The idea that asylum seekers can simply be shipped off to Somewhere Else while their claims are assessed is a fantasy. It is no substitute for an efficient and fair system of discharging our obligations to those fleeing war and persecution.

Priti Patel’s motives for spending hundreds of millions more of taxpayers money on processing asylum seekers offshore needs to be questioned.

The UK doesn’t actually have a refugee “problem” and scotland certainly does not. And it certainly is less of a “problem” than it was in 2002, a year after the bombing of Afghanistan and Iraq created hundreds of thousands of refugees.

Asylum numbers are historically low and falling, not rising’. (36,000 as opposed to over 100K in 2002);

Waiting times for Home Office decisions have soared because the home Office is slow to make decisions, and even slower since the pandemic. More people are waiting longer than 6 months for a decision.

More asylum seekers are genuine refugees than ever before. The proportion of asylum seekers granted refugee status, or a related form of international protection, at the “initial decision” stage has been around 50% over the past couple of years. That figure is pushed up to 56-66% when you take appeals into account.

So most “migrants” are actually refugees.

When even refugees from Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Iran are referred to as migrants or asylum seekers in then you know z we have a serious problem with the ability of the home Office to recognise genuine refugees.

This looks more like a case of dog whistle politics. The Home Secretary appears to want to look “tough” on immigrants and refugees while also bringing them in.

Only last month in Glasgow, a thousand people stopped immigration and police from rounding up Indian nationals who were a peaceful part of our community for the past 13 years simply because they had overstayed their visas.

Yet on May 4, the Home Secretary signed a deal with India to bring in 3,000 young Indian professionals to work or study for up to two years (The Migration and Mobility Partnership), while accelerating the process of deporting Indian nationals deemed to be here illegally. But those taking advantage of the scheme risk themselves becoming the target of deportation action if they try to stay on after the two-year period ends.

The plan for offshore processing means that the human rights abuses of genuine refugees will be effectively out of sight, out of mind; more will self-harm or attempt suicide as they are detained long term; and many more refugees will drown on British shores trying to get here. This will be Priti Patel’s toxic legacy as home secretary, who herself is the child of immigrants, the further embedding of a racist, hostile, xenophobic environment into British society.

Robina Qureshi

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