UK migration policy bears traces of colonial era practices: Expert

By Anadolu Agency

The UK government’s immigration policy such as the controversial Illegal Migration Bill contradicts international asylum law and carries traces of Britain’s colonial era, according to an expert in sociology.

Speaking to Anadolu, Karolina Augustova, a lecturer at the Northumbria University in Newcastle, said defining migrants as “illegal” does not solve the problem at all.

“Oftentimes for most people on the move, there is no legal passages so they have to cross ‘illegally,’ let’s say, to make it across the border and ask for asylum. There was just no way around it,” she said.

Touching on the UK’s borders surveillance and border policy practices, Augustova said people are surveyed, captured, attacked, deported or illegally pushed back.

“These are the same policies and practices that we saw during the colonial era. Even people are killed at borders or let die in boats or in the sea,” she added.

Speaking of the harsh policies despite Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Office Secretary Suella Braverman having a South Asian ethnic background, she said.

“It is ridiculous to think that we have people in power who are coming from racialized non-white communities, and whose families have colonial migration history themselves and now they’re introducing and reinforcing policies that are persecuting communities that are in the same situation as their families were years back.”

The “stop the boats” plan will not stop the movement, she said, adding: “It will just not happen. It has never happened anywhere else when tough policies will stop migration movement.”

Rather, she stressed, this policy makes people rely much more on smugglers and possibly also being at risk of being trafficked.

“This is crazy, this is wrong and illegal from international asylum law,” she said, referring to the draft legislation that would allow for the detention and swift removal of anyone who enters the UK illegally.