Union considers legal action over Channel refugee ‘pushbacks’

March 2023 Forums General discussion Union considers legal action over Channel refugee ‘pushbacks’

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    Border Force staff express concern at Priti Patel’s proposed tactic of forcing boats back to France

    Border Force guards, who the government says will be asked to turn refugee boats in the Channel around, are considering applying for a judicial review to stop the tactic from being used.

    Officers from the PCS union have said they are prepared to launch a high court challenge to the lawfulness of Priti Patel’s plans. The home secretary has maintained that the tactic of intercepting and sending back boats to France would be within the law.

    Enver Solomon, the chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: “The union is right to challenge pushbacks as cruel, dangerous and in conflict with international law. Conservative prime ministers since Winston Churchill have welcomed people, regardless of how they have reached our shores, who through no fault of their own have had to flee for their lives.”
    Shame on Priti Patel

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by james19.
    • This topic was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by james19.

    No capitalist state is going to allow unrestricted immigration. What a world we are living in where the action of some capitalist states effects or tries to effect regime change by direct intervention or sanctions and then has to deal with wave of economic migrants their actions have caused.


    There was an era that there was no such thing as immigration controls. In the UK I think it arrived in 1905.

    How many have Huguenot surnames?

    I always wonder if that political refugee Marx would be granted political asylum. How would history have panned out if he couldn’t use the British Library?

    Capitalism itself recognised the redundancy of borders and its hindrance to the free mobility of labour when the EU brought in the Schengen Agreement. (long time ago I still recall sitting in the dole office listening to an Italian arguing with the official that he didn’t need a passport and his ID card was sufficient)

    But the pandemic showed that even the “right” of internal movement within a country can be curtailed

    During the 30s California tried to restrict the arrival of migrants contrary to the US Constitution.

    Overall, I think the thinking of those who call for “no borders” increasingly reflect our own anti-nationalist position.


    No capitalist state is going to allow unrestricted immigration. What a world we are living in where the action of some capitalist states effects or tries to effect regime change by direct intervention or sanctions and then has to deal with wave of economic migrants their actions have caused.

    It is the same case applicable to the USA capitalist class in Central America in conjunction with the local capitalists, and now they want all the emigrants to die in Mexico or to comeback to their original countries, and inside the USA they promote the nationalist poison


    It is all the EU’s fault that more than 24,500 migrants have crossed the Channel in small boats this year.

    “Let’s not forget that the real problem on illegal migration flows is the EU has no border protections whatsoever – Schengen open borders,” Priti Patel, the Home Secretary stated. “You have people coming from the Sahel, you have them coming from Libya, right into Italy, Greece…if you speak to my French counterpart, and even their civil servants, they would all say 70 per cent of people come into northern France. They all come from Belgium. That is a fact because of open borders.”



    I would have thought that it had more to do with the borders on the continent being land borders. Or does she envisage the migrants having to be kept in Greece and Italy?

    She wants to see the clock put back and border controls and passports re-introduced on the continent just so migrants will find it more difficult to get to Britain. Quite apart from the US policy, enthusiastically backed by Britain, to bring about regime change in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya etc. aggravating the “migrant crisis”.


    That’s what I find most aggravating about all of this – the complete lack of effort to address the root causes of migration. If richer nations really wanted to stop people coming to the West, they could co-operate and come up with 100 different ways to make sure no one had to undertake a dangerous trek across half the world in search of safety. Instead, rich countries are content to ignore the issue until it’s become prevalent enough for them to exploit for political gain…

    And ironically, what’s the best way to stop immigration? World Socialism, since in a socialist world no one would ever be forced to leave their homes in search of work! (Also, the abolition of nation states would render the concept of migration meaningless…)


    What annoys me is that people are risking their and their families lives on rickety unsafe boats or crammed into the back of lorries, and crossing Europe, when very many have the funds to simply buy air tickets and even to pay for hotels.

    But airlines are legally obliged to refuse flight tickets to those without the appropriate visa or face fines if they even mistakenly permit an illegible traveller a seat on their plane.

    (they can bend the rules as I personally know when I had to sign a waiver that I would be responsible for paying for another ticket if I was refused admission because I didn’t fulfil a country’s immigration rules of having a return ticket)

    Why is it the government to save lives don’t lift such restrictions and permit asylum seekers to arrive at the airport to claim sanctuary?

    The statistics bear out the fact that the vast majority of those presently gambling their lives with people smugglers would indeed be granted political asylum as legitimate refugees.

    It would be very easy to let airlines fly refugees to safe havens where they would undergo immigration checks. Have reception centres at airports that treat applicants with respect and dignity.

    Likewise, with the cross-channel ferries and arrival ports.

    (I’m only making the distinction between who are deemed genuine refugees and not economic migrants to emphasise the hypocrisy of Priti Patel in classing all newcomers as one category – illegal and undesirable)


    Actually, most of them will be economic migrants seeking a better life away from the countries where they were born, but that doesn’t matter. They are still victims of capitalism and its conflicts. If they can get away with being classified as “political refugees” good luck to them (nobody is under any obligation to tell a capitalist state the truth).


    You haven’t read our blog on the topic, have you?

    Don’t fall for government misinformation.


    Priti Patel told the House of Lords last month: “All the data and evidence has shown this – that in the last 12 months alone, 70% of the individuals who have come to our country illegally via small boats are single men, who are effectively economic migrants. They are not genuine asylum seekers. These are the ones who are elbowing out the women and children, who are at risk and fleeing persecution.”

    Yet data from her own department has concluded that 61% of migrants who travel by boat are likely to be allowed to stay after claiming asylum. According to the Home Office report, the majority of people crossing the Channel are likely to be recognised as being in need of protection at the initial decision stage.

    If an asylum claim is refused by the Home Office at the initial decision stage, the applicant has a right of appeal to an independent tribunal. The report shows 59% of appeals are likely be allowed

    The Refugee Council analysed Channel crossings and asylum outcomes between January 2020 and June 2021. The charity found that 91% of people who travelled by boat across the Channel came from 10 countries where human rights abuses and persecution were common. These were Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Vietnam, Kuwait, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Yemen.

    These statistics apply to the Channel boat people, not the Libyan Mediterranean boats.

    I should have made it clear in my earlier comment that the “wealthy” refugees were more common at the beginning of the refugee crisis when many professionals had to flee.


    Here’s another Guardian article questioning the government claims.


    The Home Office is covering up its own research into why refugees and asylum seekers travel to the UK because ministers “know their arguments don’t stand up,” charities claim.

    Officials are refusing to release its evidence on whether so-called “pull factors” play a part in asylum seekers making journeys to the UK.

    Sophie McCann, advocacy officer at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) UK explained “The reality is that ‘pull factors’ are a myth – people who are fleeing persecution or conflict don’t need any further incentive to look for safety. It is hard to see why the government would refuse to share evidence that supports its plans – the only conclusion to draw is that they know their arguments don’t stand up.”


    Of course anyone who comes from those countries can put in a claim to be fleeing political persecution even if they are in reality economic migrants leaving those countries (some of whose economies have been ruined by western intervention and/or sanctions) to seek a better life in Europe. If I was from there I’d try to get out too and use ruses like pretending to be a Kurd from Turkey when you really from Iraq or Syria or vice versa. As I said, good luck to them. I hope playing the “political refugee” card works (as it has for some of our present and past members who are now UK citizens). That was the point I was making that they should have no compunction about lying to the state. And why should we accept that economic migrants are less worthy than political refugees ?


    I understand what you mean. But the boat people isn’t the main problem but legitimate air-travellers who come on visitors visas, find work and overstay.

    My point is that the government is being deliberately misleading by misrepresenting genuine refugees as being economic migrants, to escape their obligations under international law and hoping that creating a lack of sympathy will permit more stringent controls such as off-shoring asylum claims to foreign lands as Australia has done. Out of sight, out of mind. We have all the evidence of the torture and abuses in the Libyan camps. And the intolerable conditions in the Greek camps.

    Re-read the tone of Patel statement “single men…who are elbowing out the women and children, who are at risk and fleeing persecution.” How emotive is that?

    I’m sure she is purposefully stoking hatred and fear using racist undertones for many Brits associate economic migrants with young African and Asian workers.

    It is amazing how someone from a Ugandan-Asian family shows little understanding. As they say, the first up the rope-ladder of a sinking ship will often pull it up after them to stop others saving themselves.

    But what can we expect from someone who had a PR job for the tobacco industry and then acquired a reputation of being a ministerial bully.

    At my age, I remember many home secretaries but perhaps none as extreme as she is proving to be.

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