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28 September 2023

Open Letter rejecting the Home Secretary’s abhorrent comments

We, the undersigned, condemn the comments made by the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, on Tuesday that promote hostility towards migrants and migratised communities across Europe through racist and xenophobic rhetoric around “integration”.

In her speech the Home Secretary named immigrants an “existential challenge for the political and cultural institutions of the West”. She referred to rapid and extreme cultural change, high rates of immigration, and the “failure” of migrants to “integrate”. This comes amidst her proposals to abandon the 1951 Refugee Convention in favour of stricter measures to limit the eligibility for refugee protection. This is abhorrent- the Refugee Convention should be expanded to explicitly include more grounds: including sexuality and gender, and climate emergencies. 

This rhetoric is not new; it draws upon decades-old xenophobia that positions non-White migrants as a “threat” and as a security problem to be dealt with. This draws on the Great Replacement Theory – a White supremacist myth, that has resulted in numerous attacks on migrants and other racialised and marginalised communities across Europe in recent years. Blaming “multiculturalism” as the major European “crisis” is misguided and malicious. The real threat to unity is Government scapegoating of migrants, which sows division in our communities.

After facing criticism, the Home Secretary has doubled down on this punitive system. She advocates raising the barrier for persecution to the point where people already have to have suffered torture, abuse, and other cruel treatment, rather than experiencing a threat or intense fear of these conditions. This begs the question of how much harm is enough? As more people become displaced due to global crises that Western governments refuse to address or acknowledge, and indeed have caused, it is alarming that many, like the Home Secretary, appear intent on increasing hostility and raising the bar for protection. 

We cannot allow this kind of divisive and hostile rhetoric to be normalised. We call instead for a humane, compassionate, and welcoming migration system that does not treat people coming to our countries as issues to be solved and numbers to be reduced.

We condemn this latest attack on migrants, and we reject the notion that migrants present an existential “threat” to our political and cultural rights and institutions. We stand in unconditional solidarity with migrants and resist the division that the Government is pushing with its words.

To sign our open letter, click here.