There is just no way of arguing for deportations not being discriminatory unless you argue for deporting native citizens as well.


First published in December 2020.


The Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted this on Thursday:


Or, to put it another way, the Home Secretary is admitting that the prison system is in need of reform to promote rehabilitation and reduce recidivism.

Otherwise, surely as foreign nationals pose no more risk having served a sentence than a native offender, she is advocating for discrimination.


Let’s break this argument down, shall we?

“We need to keep Britain’s streets safe by deporting people who have served their sentences”.

So, the prison system doesn’t work?

“Of course it does. Tough on crime and all that stuff.”

So, you are going to deport everyone who has served a jail sentence of 12 months or more?

“Of course not. Only those born abroad.”

So, you are applying a secondary punishment on people based solely on where they are born?

“They should follow our laws.”

So, you are going to deport everyone who has served a 12-month sentence or longer?

“Of course not, only the foreigners.”


Can you see how this goes round and round?

There is just no way of arguing for deportations not being discriminatory unless you argue for deporting native citizens as well.

There is a serious risk, if Priti Patel got her way, of the UK breaching – as it has done in the past – the fundamental principle of non-refoulment. More than that though, deportations are by their very nature a discriminatory practice which sets a separate tier punishment for foreign citizens.🔷



Dan Sohege, Human rights advocate, international refugee law specialist, immigration economist, charity fundraising professional and Director of Stand For All.


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[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 4 December 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

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(Cover: Flickr/Number 10. - Priti Patel. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)