Statewatch publication: "Border Wars and Asylum Crimes" by Frances Webber

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When the Statewatch pamphlet "Crimes of Arrival" by the same author was written, in 1995, the title was a metaphor for the way the British government, in common with other European governments, treated migrants and especially, asylum seekers. Now, a decade on, that title describes a literal truth:

Order publication (£10, 36 pages, A4)

"The exclusionary imperatives of reduction of numbers arriving and an increase in those removed are driving European asylum policy steadily to a penal model. This had its beginnings in the early 1980s, and in 1992, the Ad Hoc Committee formulating EU asylum policy pre-Maastricht stated its view that intercontinental movement to seek asylum was 'unlawful'. Now, the whole panoply of criminal powers, including the regular use of the criminal law, segregation from society, mass detention, fingerprinting and electronic tagging, is brought to bear on asylum claimants. Immigration police have all the powers and none of the accountability of 'normal' police. Private sector guards on minimum wages are recruited to keep asylum claimants in order and to deport them, and may use 'reasonable force' in doing so.

There is a frightening continuity between the treatment of asylum claimants and that of terrorist suspects. In the name of the defence of our way of life and our enlightenment values from attack by terrorists or by poor migrants, that way of life is being destroyed by creeping authoritarianism, and those values - amongst which the most important is the universality of human rights - betrayed."

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