We should be ashamed

Shakesville has a good round-up post on the news that Mehdi Kazemi and Pegah Emambakhsh look set to be deported from the UK to Iran because of our government’s shameful asylum policy.

19 year-old Kazemi was actually forced to seek refuge in the Netherlands, because of fears that the UK government would deport him back to Iran, where two years ago, his boyfriend was hanged for sodomy. But a court in the Netherlands has ruled that he must return to the UK, where he faces deportation because Home Office policy does not accept that gay people face persecution in Iran.

Meanwhile, 40 year-old Pegah Emambakhsh has just lost the latest round in her asylum proceedings, and could be faced with forcible return to a country she fled when her girlfriend was arrested and sentenced to death.

All of this is enough to make you sick to the stomach of our government, and at our first female Home Secretary.

But it’s also enough to make you sick at the right-wing, sensationalist press and the politicians which have pushed an anti-immigration agenda, and at the general population who buys into it – and at the government for caving in to it. Without the pressure to be seen to be ‘tough on immigration’, would this government have taken such a stance? It’s hard to reconcile.

Whether it’s trafficking or rights for migrant domestic workers, or simply the intersection of racism and sexism that women experience when they move to the UK, the anti-immigration agenda hurts women. It is a feminist issue. And the government’s policy is not good enough.