Callous, cold and cruel. The UK government’s latest refugee policy which will allow for the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda, and the High Court’s ruling that this will be permissible, exemplifies the vehement distaste the government has for some of the most vulnerable members of society.
The Home Secretary Priti Patel’s initiative presented as doing two things: curbing the exploitive nature of people smuggling gangs and diminishing the costs of housing asylum seekers. This is completely inaccurate. The policy, adopted from similar programmes in Australia and Denmark, cost more than expected and its implementation in Israel did not display any slowdown in the actions of human trafficking and people smuggling.
What the government’s act does not quantify is the desperation of these people – legislative restrictions will not stop or pause the desires of asylum seekers to make dangerous journeys. The belief that policies such as this work is not only naïve but highlights the lack of understanding in Parliament.
Furthermore, this policy displays an undercurrent of contempt for asylum seekers and refugees. This has also been displayed in the handling of the Windrush generation and subtly in the atrocities of the Grenfell disaster which disproportionally affected generations of immigrants.
The UK is fundamentally built on a distaste for migrants; while we celebrate 70 years of the monarchy, an institution of immense wealth and prestige, we fail to recognise the true foundations that have maintained stability for this country.
It is immigrants who built the infrastructure of our country. It is immigrants who sustain the food and manual labour industries whose jobs are perceived to undermine the silver spoon upbringings of the British public. It is immigrants who enhance the culture and food that the British public take so much pride in.
In return, they receive an atmosphere of hate and mistrust. This was evidenced by the rise of nationalist movements, who centre a fearmongering rhetoric of migrants and asylum seekers, like the BNP and EDL. Arguably, Nigel Farage’s former party UKIP demonstrated the hostility present in the UK.
The UK government fails to see the reality of this situation, implementing an unethical and immoral policy. It is our duty to do the simple task they cannot, to see asylum seekers as what they really are: human. Not a statistic but human. It is our duty to view asylum seekers as the most vulnerable members of society whose position we thankfully cannot ever comprehend. Therefore, it is our duty to show them the compassion which the government is lacking.