The horrific deaths of 58 Chinese migrants found in Dover, revealed to the world the monstrous effects of Britain's immigration regime. By making it virtually impossible for refugees and migrants to enter this country legally, many thousands every year seek to come here illegally. Jack Straw was quick to place the blame on Chinese smuggling gangs called the Snake Head. Thinking people can see through this.
The immigration laws of Britain and Europe are blatantly racist; for example there are an estimated 40,000 Australians overstaying their visas in Britain, compare this with 455 Chinese asylum seekers who applied this April for asylum! Do we hear the Home Secretary calling for the rooting out of illegal Australian migrants? Not a word of it! All 18 million Australians are allowed to come here without visas, as are South African and certain Commonwealth nationals. However, we see very few black South Africans in Britain, they are too poor to become economic migrants.
The Kosovan Refugees who arrived during the bombing of Yugoslavia were told by the Home Secretary on June 25th that they will be refused asylum and deported. This one year after the British helped drop 30,000 bombs and missiles on their homes, destroying much of the economic and social infrastructure. Journalists from across the political spectrum have exposed that Kosovo is now under the control of Mafia gangs. So much for Jack Straw's determination to help refugees escape from the clutches of criminal gangs!
Two months ago Tony Blair attended the founding meeting of Chinese for Labour. Tony Blair supported this organisation being set up, not in order to promote the rights of Chinese workers in Britain and China, but as a means of access to the funds of the wealthy Chinese business community. Many of these businessmen make their wealth on the backs of the sweated labour of thousands of Chinese workers, (legal and illegal) who work in appalling conditions in Soho and other parts of Britain. The illegal Chinese migrant workers often live 8 to a room, work 12 to 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. This in order to raise some money to send home to their families in ChinaÖthey have no rights.
In China, millions of workers produce everything from toys to computers. British companies reap huge super profits from the working classes of China, paying them in a year what a British worker gets in two weeks. When a few thousand Chinese workers a year, seek to escape from poverty at home, they have no legal means of entry to Britain. Of course they will resort to illegal means, the results of which we see in Dover. It is outrageous that some so-called leaders of the Chinese community, instead of defending the human and labour rights of these workers, called on the police to arrest and deport them.
The National Union of Refugee Organisations has rightly called for an immediate amnesty for all illegal immigrants inside this country. This call must be supported in every Labour Party and Trade Union Branch. These migrant workers are tied into Britain's black economy, only if their status is legalised can they escape the control of their criminal employers.
The Kent police are blackmailing the families and friends of the Dover dead. They have informed them that if they come forward to identify the bodies of the dead, they must give names and addresses of those who helped them reach Dover. This is an absolute outrage, which every decent human being must condemn! Trade unionists and Labour party members must send a barrage of protest, at this disgusting blackmail of workers families at such a tragic time.
Globalisation is creating a global wave of mass migration, but of 30 million refugees and displaced people, only 0.05% of the total come to the UK, and only 3% come to Europe. Most languish in squalor in poverty-stricken countries, for example 2 million Afghan refugees eke out an existence in Pakistan. The government has tried every means to seal up the borders in order to avoid their obligations under the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees. The Convention compels signatory states to accept refugees, regardless of whether they have entered the country illegally. Now Jack Straw wants to amend the Convention itself, and have asylum seekers apply in their own or another 'safe haven' country. Imagine asking the Iranian government for a passport so you can go to Britain to claim asylum!
The government has imposed stringent fines on carriers who bring people to Britain without legal documentation. Airlines, fearing huge fines, demand their workers check documents of travellers to Britain at the airport of embarkation. For British Airways alone this regime costs £20 million a year. The International Transport Workers Federation has called on their members to refuse to act as immigration officers for the British government; this resolution must be acted upon.
Migration and asylum issues are not going away. The leaders of international capitalism everywhere demand the free movement of capital; it is time for the international trade union and labour movement, and progressive people everywhere to demand the free movement of labour!