Protesters rally against the Tories anti-migrant racism (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Leaders in Britain and the United States are ramping their racist rhetoric against refugees.

In Britain the Rwanda deportation bill is set for its latest stage in the House of Lords next week after passing through the Commons, despite Tory divisions.

The brutal legislation will see refugees dumped in the east African country with almost no route back to Britain.

And overcrowding on the Bibby Stockholm barge in Dorset—where six men share a room designed for one person—is still putting refugees’ mental health at risk.

Around 300 people are currently kept on the barge, where a refugee, Leonard Farruku, committed suicide in December.

Other residents have now told parliamentary committees that they have suicidal thoughts as a result of being trapped on the prison barge.

And in preparation for the United States elections, candidates are already using racism as a key tool to win votes. 

President Joe Biden is pushing harsh racist measures against people trying to cross the US-Mexico border.

His plans are part of a $118 million (£94 million) bill agreed by Democrat and Republican Senate leaders. It boosts the US state’s repression against migrants and refugees.

It also hands more money to Israel and Ukraine. Under the new law the president has powers to immediately expel refugees and migrants if authorities say they are overwhelmed with asylum claims.

Applications would be subject to quicker and tougher enforcement, and more migrants could also be at risk of deportation.

Immigration will be a key battleground during the presidential election in November where Donald Trump is campaigning heavily on claims of an “invasion” from the southern border.

House Republicans backing Trump don’t trust Biden with the borders—or with the US’s failing war in Ukraine, which they want to cease funding for.

Biden urged Congress to “swiftly pass” the deal “that includes the toughest and fairest set of border reforms in decades”.

The new federal powers would mean misery for the migrants and refugees attempting to cross into the US. On average some 10,000 attempt the journey daily.

Biden’s bill would “shut down” the border if more than 5,000 undocumented people cross into the US in a day. When the number of migrants crossing approaches 4,000 people, the government would start to turn away people at border stations.

Other migrants would also be taken into short-term detention while their claims are assessed. The bill also looks to end the system of allowing people to remain in the US while their asylum applications are processed. 

Anti-racists in Britain and the US must continue to mobilise against the racist scapegoating of refugees. Join Stand Up To Racism’s Fighting for Anti-racist Workplaces conference this Sunday, 11 February, 11.30am-4pm, at the NEU union HQ, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD.
For details, speakers and how to join online, go to bit.ly/TUconf-2024 

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