Tag Archives: pushback

Home Office staff take government to court with concerns ‘culture of fear’ is illegal

Minister for inhumanity: Priti Patel’s “Hostile Environment” policies have involved Home Office staff in illegal activities in the past. Now she is being challenged in court to prove her plan to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda is not also against the law.

10 years after the launch of the ‘Hostile Environment’ policy, representatives of Home Office staff are challenging the government in court over things they are being asked to do.

The Public and Commercial Services Union and the Immigration Services Union are challenging Priti Patel’s policies to “pushback” small boats in the English Channel and to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda.

They have strong justification: the “pushback” policy is likely to break international law on asylum while the idea of deportations to Rwanda copies a previous policy by Israel – that didn’t work and was abandoned.

And the Conservative government has a record of “Hostile Environment” criminality.

We all know – don’t we? – about the Windrush Scandal that illegally targeted for deportation a generation of people who had the right to live in the UK but whose documentation had been destroyed.

The Home Office has also wrongly accused 34,000 international students of cheating in English language tests and failed to ensure that innocent people were not wrongly deported.

An Institute for Public Policy Research report in 2020 concluded the hostile environment policy had fostered racism, pushed people into destitution, wrongly targeted people who were living in the UK legally, and had “severely harmed the reputation of the Home Office”.

In the wake of the Windrush scandal the Home Office committed to introduce a total transformation of the department, including a review of the hostile environment policies – and failed to complete it.

So it should be no surprise that civil service representatives are trying to protect workers from having to take part in Priti Patel’s potential crimes.

One glance at comments on the “Hostile Environment” policy by Nazek Ramdan, the director of the charity Migrant Voice, should make the reason crystal clear:

“Perhaps no other policy in living memory has left such a malign mark, a stain like an oil slick. It is racist, xenophobic, immoral, illegal, unfair, punishing, divisive, mean-spirited, discriminatory and counterproductive.”

Source: Home Office staff worry they may be asked to act illegally in ‘culture of fear’

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Did Patel drop her ‘pushbacks’ policy against asylum-seekers – or did it never exist at all?

Patel: did she deliberately mislead members of the House of Lords last autumn and is the Home Office trying to cover up for her now?

This is odd.

The BBC is reporting that Priti Patel has abandoned her plan to turn back migrant boats crossing the English Channel, ahead of a court challenge.

But The Guardian has already told us that this policy never existed at all.

It certainly seems true that the High Court was going to hear a legal challenge by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), and the NGOs Care4Calais, Channel Rescue and Freedom From Torture on May 3.

But it also seems true that the court had already refused the Home Office permission for public interest immunity against publishing the details of its alleged pushback policy – and those details, once brought into the light, showed that there was never any plan to turn back asylum seekers.

The Home Office comment that “there are extremely limited circumstances when you can safely turn boats back in the English Channel” therefore rings true.

But the Graun also said that Patel had assured a House of Lords committee that turning boats full of asylum-seekers away from the UK was “absolutely still policy”, last autumn.

The claim that the policy has only now been dropped has muddied the issue.

So it seems to This Writer that the Home Office needs to publish the policy that was written into the Nationality and Borders Bill at the time she spoke those words, to allow us to establish whether she lied to Parliament then and an attempt is being made to deceive us now.

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Priti Patel accused of lying to parliament that migrant boats will be turned away

Liar: it seems clear that Priti Patel deliberately misled Lords into believing that asylum-seekers caught trying to cross the English Channel would be turned away, and tried to keep the policy stating otherwise secret.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has been accused of deliberately misleading Parliament and the public into believing that her Nationality and Borders Bill includes a plan to turn migrant boats away from the UK.

In fact, previously-unpublished clauses of the Bill explicitly state that pushbacks will not be applied against asylum-seekers.

The details came to light after the pushbacks policy was challenged by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), and the NGOs Care4Calais, Channel Rescue and Freedom From Torture.

The Home Office had applied to the High Court for public interest immunity against publishing the details – a mechanism used over sensitive issues such as organised crime, terrorism or national security. But judges said disclosure did not “give rise to a real risk of serious harm to the public interest”.

Patel gave evidence to the House of Lords’ justice and home affairs committee last autumn in which she said turning boats full of asylum-seekers away from the UK was “absolutely still policy”.

Now it has been revealed that a key part of the previously-unpublished policy states that anyone in a dinghy who indicates they wish to claim asylum in the UK should not be pushed back but instead escorted to UK shores. Almost everyone who uses this method to reach the UK is an asylum seeker according to the Home Office’s own data.

So she lied to Parliament.

Correct me if I’m mistaken, but isn’t there currently a huge row over whether Boris Johnson should be ejected from his job as a member of the government because he’s believed to have deliberately lied to Parliament?

So, shouldn’t Patel also face the same penalty?

In fact, it seems to This Writer that she should be summarily ejected; this is an open-and-shut case.

Source: Priti Patel accused of misleading parliament over refugee pushbacks

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#PritiPatel’s #pushback: she’s facing strikes at home while losing support abroad

Does Priti Patel think she’s going to beat the backlash against her over refugees… with lies?

That’s the impression This Writer gets from Sajid Javid’s comments on TV:

For clarity, Alex Taylor was playing down Germany’s role in resettling refugees. That country hasn’t just taken in one million people; it’s taken a million every year since 2013, two years before Javid’s record starts.

Just taking it from 2015, that’s seven million people, or 280 times the number the UK took in during the same period.

Javid is one massive liar, isn’t he? And in this case he was doing it for his colleague, who was apparently busy talking to European leaders. Was she lying to them? I think they’d know too!

The language is fascinating if you like psychoanalysis. Patel says she’s talking with European leaders to “prevent further tragedies” in the Channel, without actually saying what she considers to be a tragedy in this instance.

We know that she has a so-called “pushback” policy that, if she goes through with it, will force refugees out of UK waters – to drown elsewhere if their transport is as flimsy as the raft that capsized in the Channel last week.

So she doesn’t consider these people dying to be a tragedy.

She considers the bad publicity attracted to the Conservative government by them dying to be a tragedy.

That’s how it seems to This Writer.

Another analyst’s dream is the tweet quoted below, which Clare Hepworth accurately describes in her response:

“We agreed more co-ordinated action was needed”. To do what?

Patel didn’t say – and that implies that it’s not going to be pleasant for refugees/asylum-seekers. This in turn means it is unlikely to be popular with the public – so she held back the details.

But while she’s off talking with her opposite numbers in Europe – a job that would have been much quicker and easier, by the way, if her boss hadn’t ticked off Emmanuel Macron with his Twit diplomacy – she’s facing court action by the workers she expects to enforce her “pushback” policy:

The PCS union, that represents Border Force staff, has joined Care 4 Calais to demand that Patel publish the legal basis of “pushback” and details of how she expects it to be carried out.

If she refuses, then they will launch judicial review proceedings to establish whether the policy is even legal.

General Secretary Mark Serwotka said, “The ‘pushback’ policy being pursued by the Home Secretary is unlawful, unworkable and above all morally reprehensible. Our border force members are aghast at the thought they will be forced to implement such a cruel and inhumane policy.

“PCS will not rule out all forms of industrial action, including disrupting the implementation of the Pushback policy if the Home Secretary insists on going ahead.”

He also said people trying to reach the UK should be allowed to so via safe routes so that their claims can be assessed here.

And his wish may be granted before his union gets as far as court:

It seems M. Macron was the only major French politician who was still in favour of a treaty known as the Le Touquet Accords, which allows the UK to police its borders at places like the Port of Calais. This makes it easy to turn refugees back before they are able to use the ferry like everybody else.

But BoJob has upset Macron. And with a French Presidential election coming up, and other candidates like Michel Barnier (remember him?) advocating an end to Le Touquet, it seems pretty soon the refugees will have their safe route to the UK after all.

Once they get here, it won’t matter what officials say; they’ll be on UK soil and may legally claim asylum.

That would really mess up Patel’s plan.

The claim that the UK takes more refugees than any other European country is blown already.

Any claim to be trying to be humane to refugees would also be blown.

Her policy would be in tatters.

And everyone who supported her crusade against refugees would be very upset with her.

Take a look at the question below:

It’s based on an old Patel lie – that refugees should settle in the first safe country they can reach.

With all the elements lining up against her, Patel may end up wishing her parents had done just that.

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