The warped priorities of the UK’s asylum system

Mar 2, 2024 by

by Rakib Ehsan, spiked:

We are providing a safe haven for terrorists and criminals, while refusing to help those in genuine need.

[…] How can this be right? How did we end up with an asylum system that can so easily be gamed? How did we end up with an asylum system that puts the welfare of sex offenders, gangsters, extremists and acid attackers above the welfare of ordinary people? Clearly, we need a complete overhaul. We need to close the loopholes. We need to free ourselves from any legal framework that restricts our ability to make democratic, common-sense decisions about asylum policy. And we cannot afford to wait for another Abdul Ezedi to do so.

This is not to say that we should pull up the drawbridge. On the contrary. It is right that Britain provides refuge for some of the world’s most persecuted peoples. In recent years, we have provided a safe haven for Syrians fleeing civil war, Hongkongers fleeing Chinese state tyranny, and Ukrainians fleeing Russian aggression. In fact, the dysfunctions of our asylum system have arguably made it much harder for us to help some of the people who genuinely need and deserve it.

That would include the Afghan citizens who worked with British forces during the war in Afghanistan. Regardless of what you think of that ill-fated, decades-long intervention, these soldiers, translators and journalists assisted Britain at great personal risk. We promised them our protection, but we have not delivered it.

After the Taliban re-took Afghanistan in 2021, many of these Afghans were forced to flee to Pakistan and Iran while they sought resettlement in the UK. But they have waited in vain. Now many face deportation back to Afghanistan, where they will likely be persecuted or killed. There are an estimated 2,000 people in this perilous situation. Yet British support for them has not been forthcoming. One British Army general has rightly called it a ‘betrayal’ and a ‘disgrace’.

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