Why I think Priti Patel's plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is like Eichmann's plan to send Jews to Madagascar
The answer lies in the statistics, those damned statistics
THERE is going to be huge amount of hyperbole concerning today’s announcement by the Government that asylum seekers are to be sent to Rwanda for their claims to be processed. Nevertheless, I do think the policy is monstrous, and it can be compared to the Nazis’ plan to send Europe’s Jews to Madagascar, as both policies are rooted in hate and ignorance.
I’m not going to deal with the hate here, but the ignorance. And to deal with that, we need to look at the true picture of asylum seeking in the UK.
Before I do that, it should be stressed that not ALL asylum seekers are being sent to Rwanda, but only male asylum seekers who cross the Channel in small boats, as they are perceived by the Government largely to be economic migrants.
How many people does this mean? And are they really mostly economic migrants?
Let’s take the figures from 2021.
Last year, 28,526 people entered the UK in small boats, out of which it is estimated by the Home Office that 98% claim asylum. In fact, nobody actually knows the true figure. See the statement below contained in the latest official report:
Of these, 90% are male, which means that last year 25,159 asylum seekers would have been sent to Rwanda. These people represent just over half of the 48,540 who total number who applied for asylum in 2021.
Where do these people come from? Well, many are from pretty nasty or troubled places. Here are the top four:
A further 20% come from Afghanistan, Sudan, Vietnam, Kuwait, Ethiopia, and Yemen, while the remaining 9% come from elsewhere.
So how many of these people are economic migrants as opposed to asylum seekers?
We cannot assume that just because someone has come from Iran or Sudan that they are necessarily an asylum seeker, but any reasonable person would suppose there is a good chance that they might be.
However, the Home Secretary states that some 70% are economic migrants simply on the basis that they are single men – which means some 20,000 in 2021. That figure seems high, so can it be right, and where does it come from?
It would be nice if there was a source for that figure, but I cannot find it. It is certainly not contained in the official Asylum Statistics.
The Migration Observatory at Oxford University is similarly stumped.
Although we do not have any more data on the outcomes of the asylum claims of Channel migrants in particular, we do know that in recent years more than half of asylum applications result in a grant of asylum or other form of permission to stay, taking into account successful appeals.
Meanwhile, the Refugee Council has concluded that 61% of of migrants who travel by boat are likely to be allowed to stay after claiming asylum. This means that only 39% may be economic migrants.
Let’s therefore estimate that 45% of those crossing the Channel in 2021 in small boats were economic migrants – this means 12,836 people.
Now compare this figure to the number of visas that were issued in the year up to 2021:
205,528 work-related visas
428,428 sponsored study visas
263,415 visas and permits granted for family reasons
144,944 grants of visas to dependants of people coming to the UK on other types of visas
This means that the estimated 12,836 economic migrants who crossed the Channel in 2021 are equivalent to just 6.25% of those to whom we give work-related visas.
The Government’s solution to this ‘flood’ is to send some 25,000 people per year at vast financial and ecological expense to a place in Africa that hardly has the most charming human rights record. As David Davis has convincingly argued, it is neither a deterrent nor a solution.
By its own admission, there are no statistics to back up the Government’s own claims, and the decision simply seems rooted in a hatred of the other. The Nazis’ plan to send Europe’s Jews to a place in Africa shared those same roots. It is a loathsome policy, that makes no sense morally – or indeed statistically.
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