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We should send you to Rwanda, which is proving to be a new racial slur before deportations

Rwanda deportations

Critics warn deportation plan emboldens racists (Image: Reuters)

The government has been accused of “encouraging racists” with its deportation plan for Rwanda, while a grim new insult erupted on social media.

home secretary Priti Patel, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labor MP David Lammy are among the public figures who have been told they should be removed from Britain and flown to the East African nation.

Sunder Katwala, who highlighted the issue in a thread on Twittersaid “send her to Rwanda” was used by both left and right commentators as an insult against people with whom they disagreed politically – including Gary Linkear and Nigel Farage.

But he said ethnic minorities were being disproportionately targeted with racist abuse.

“It’s really disappointing that in 2022 the ‘send her back’ racist trope is being resurrected,” he told Metro.co.uk

“Everyone in the UK who is from an ethnic minority background knows this trope and it’s so disappointing that it has been given new life today.”

Mr Katwala, who runs think tank British Futures, said the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda “clearly encouraged racists and the most toxic form of the far right”.

He accused ministers of fueling the asylum debate by attacking lawyers, activists and religious leaders who have spoken out against the controversial policy.

He wrote in his thread: “Unfortunately, a price to pay for this conscious political decision to re-ignite and re-polarize the asylum debate is that it has been seen by some racists as a form of permission to use Rwanda as a new form of racial abuse.

“Now, given the racist use of this ‘send you to Rwanda’ trope, maybe people could stop using it as a satirical point against Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Gary Lineker or whoever you don’t like. I’m sure you can think of something else to say to show you don’t like her.”

He said that while Priti Patel can be criticized for being “the architect of this policy that inspired this new racist trope,” using it against her “is the worst way to do it.”

“It’s worrying that people are using it for people they don’t like in politics,” he told Metro.co.uk

“There are many ways people can articulate or express their opposition, but not with this trope, we shouldn’t legitimize it.”

Other people targeted with the insult include GMB presenter Adil Ray, political activist Femi Oluwole and Imam Qari Asim.

Mr Ray highlighted the issue in April, saying: “I know I’m not alone here, but over the past week ‘we should send you to Rwanda’ has become POC’s latest racial slur [people of colour]. Our crime? Not being white and standing up for those worse off than us. These racists are being radicalized by our ministers, they know the consequences.”

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Adam Bienkov, political editor at the Byline Times, pointed out that “even those of us who only have foreign-sounding names understand this” in response to Mr Katwala’s thread.

Mr Katwaka said he asked Twitter if the slur breached its abusive behavior rules.

He said while the human cost of the policy hits directly on those being deported to Rwanda, a new wave of online racism is a “by-product of the asylum debate in this country.”

The first flight to Rwanda is due to take off tonight after the Supreme Court rejected a last-ditch effort to stop it.

Just seven people are believed to be on board after a series of legal challenges, with the trip reportedly costing taxpayers £500,000.

The policy was widely condemned by charities, opposition MPs, Tories, lawyers and religious leaders. Prince Charles is said to have privately described the deportations as “appalling”.

Boris Johnson acknowledged today that the plan had come in for “some somewhat unexpected quarters” but singled out the legal profession as the main source of opposition.

Activists block a road leading away from the Colnbrook Immigration Removal Center as they protest against the UK government's plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, near London's Heathrow Airport June 14, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Activists block a road leading away from the Colnbrook Immigration Removal Center as they protest plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda (Image: Reuters)
The plan was widely condemned (Image: Reuters)

He stepped up his attack on lawyers representing migrants, suggesting that they “support the work of criminal gangs”.

The government has insisted offshore asylum is necessary to deter migrants from paying people smugglers to take them on dangerous channel crossings rather than other routes.

Downing Street said the current approach was already costing UK taxpayers £1.5bn each year, with almost £5m a day costing hotel accommodation for asylum seekers.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, along with the other Anglican bishops in the House of Lords, condemned the “immoral” plan, saying it should stop human trafficking by creating safe routes into Britain.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “The deportation of asylum seekers should shame us as a nation.”

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/14/we-should-send-you-to-rwanda-emerging-as-new-racist-slur-ahead-of-deportations-16827417/ We should send you to Rwanda, which is proving to be a new racial slur before deportations

Justin Scacco

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