History Repeating Itself: Why we should be concerned about Priti Patel’s immigration plans
Power is being placed in the wrong hands, and it is important we start having the conversation about Priti Patel and her inhumane immigration plans now, before it’s too late.
“When you’re running for your life, you don’t have time to think about paperwork – you just run” – Director of Survivor Empowerment, Kolbassia Haoussou
If we do not recognise the potential danger of our Home Secretary soon, it won’t be long before the merciless views of Priti Patel become a reality for more and more minorities. Under her new Nationality and Borders Bill, there is absolutely no consideration for the unstable political climates and immense suffering that is happening beyond our borders. Her claim to take back control is morally wrong and heartless.
Our government, who claims the United Kingdom is a welcoming environment for all, is planning to assess the worth of those seeking asylum, based on their travel route. Fundamentally, if an asylum seeker passes through a safe country, they will be rejected from the UK. If Priti Patel’s main objective is to eliminate criminals and offenders, surely a travel route has nothing to do with any offence committed. In her opening speech for the Nationality and Borders Bill in July 2021, Patel stated that she will require information that proves an asylum seeker is a victim of slavery or human trafficking. Considering you will not get given paperwork when fleeing your country for your own safety, we can come to the conclusion that this is just another step to deliberately prevent desperate people from crossing our borders and obtaining basic safety and healthcare.
Patel claims that the UK government have helped a significant number of refugees throughout history. This seems to be a bold claim when we only need to go back to 2017 and look at the emergence of the Windrush Scandal which evidently displayed government ignorance throughout the years 1948-73. Here, we saw the UK government consciously overlooking their own laws, subsequently treating the Windrush generation as illegal subjects. Our government wrongly forced the Windrush generation to show documentation such as a UK passport. Many entered at a very young age and on their parents’ passport, therefore they were unable to present this. This generation were perfectly within their right to remain in the UK. However, this was completely disregarded, and many were deported and denied any medical help, even when it was urgently needed. Yet, our government will still pretend that our immigration system is fair. Patel touches upon this scandal in her opening speech and points out the injustice suffered. This is a perfect example of performance politics, whereby she is merely ticking boxes of issues she should address, whether she wants to or not. Therefore, it is time to learn from our history and question the fact that if the laws that are implemented to protect us are unashamedly ignored by the authorities, are the people of the UK really protected?
One thing we can learn from previous historic tragedies, is that the politicians who gradually crawl their way into power through patriotism and a claim of taking back control, are the ones that are the most dangerous. The control they talk about taking back is their own control, not the people’s. Patel’s introduction of new accommodation and reception centres for asylum seekers seem dangerously familiar. Her desire to speed up the removal process with these centres only means she will get away with more inhumane behaviour.
Although it may seem like our country is far from tyranny, we should start to question how far Patel is willing to go to consolidate the control she so often talks about. History has taught us that when power is given to dangerous individuals, it is not long before most are living in fear. We should consider how she has acted towards those who have no choice but to escape from war and suffering. People who flee their country often do so because they have no choice and must risk their lives in an attempt to gain the comfort and safety we take for granted. In many cases, taking the risks they do costs them their lives. With this in mind, we must talk about these hostile policies and the possible risks of Priti Patel’s power.
Patel’s harsh opinions don’t stop at immigration. She has also allegedly ‘criticised those who take the knee and protest for Black Lives Matter, attacked lawyers who defend asylum seekers, and she has been known for her opposition of the LGBT community’. It seems clear that someone who opposes basic human rights and diversity, should not have as much power as she does.
Ultimately, Priti Patel and the Home Office now get to decide who is worthy of protection and who is not. This will be based on proof and relevant information, meaning that those who are vulnerable or have none of the proof Patel believes is necessary, do not stand a chance of entering the UK. If our friends and family were in a desperate position, we would want someone in a better place to fight for them. So, maybe it’s time for us to stop being naive and recognise that there might be other motivations behind these policies, policies that hide behind a claim of UK pride.