MY WhatsApp is alive. It’s 4am in the morning.

“Alison – I can’t sleep. I feel sick. I am looking at my children sleeping. They would not exist and I wouldn’t have you as a friend under this new scheme. I would have been sent to Rwanda.”

The ongoing debate around Nationality and Borders Bill has been tough to watch. The bill is described as being the solution to “small boats” and “evil traffickers” – words used like an equally evil mantra by the politicians devising these horrifying new realities. Think of Ukrainians just now caught up in the UK Government Homes for Ukrainians visa nightmare at present, half their family issued visas the other half denied. With predatory offers from men to Ukrainian women now being reported on a daily basis of accommodation in return for sexual favours. This is the reality that forces people into irregular, often dangerous routes, onto “small boats”, and into the hands of traffickers.

The Prime Minister has spent two days not resigning for breaching the ministerial code, lying to parliament and with a criminal conviction for breaking the law. As a hasty distraction he has today announced that the UK will itself engage in state-sponsored people trafficking; setting up unsafe, dangerously enforced routes to Rwanda at enormous expense to the taxpayer. The name Jimmy Mubenga – a man killed by deportation enforcement officers – is one which haunts the description of the scheme for those of us who have campaigned for years against deportation and detention. And the scheme will be eye-wateringly expensive, even according to David Davis MP – an unlikely ally in these matters – and as far exceeding that of the present often dangerous, and debased system of immigration detention and asylum accommodation. The announcement itself also ushers in a state of terror for all who have sought or are exercising their right to seek asylum in the UK.

READ MORE: Rwanda route from UK for English Channel asylum seekers explained

Under the scheme, men, women and children could be sent to Rwanda if the Home Secretary deems them to have entered the UK, exercising their rights under International Law and the Refugee Convention, to claim asylum in an irregular manner, on a ‘small boat.’

Such is the obsession with funding big boats and luxury or Royal Yachts in the present Conservative, migration obsessed administration.

Another word used like an evil mantra is “illegal migration”, a deliberately inaccurate, erroneous, term used to describe the use of irregular routes for those for whom regular immigration processes are closed. In reality, it will be the opposite, banning people from working, creating detention accommodation across the country, criminalising people seeking asylum and refuge, taking away citizenship and now creating offshore asylum processing centre – as we call it “offshore detention”. This exact discussion and the use of words such as “illegal” migration should not be normalised. This language will create space for further division, and state-sanctioned racism within communities.

Shipping people seeking asylum 5000 miles to Rwanda for processing is cruel, inhumane, vastly expensive to the taxpayer and simply does not make any sense. But in a regime announcing a terror campaign against some of the world’s most vulnerable people, it is the cruelty and electoral advantage that is, once again, the point. Alongside the distraction.

In his announcement Boris Johnson used his favourite mantra once again: “We are very, very, very welcoming to refugees.” In reality, this announcement simply acts as a distraction. People will be isolated from communities, extended family, organisations and groups will not be able to welcome people.

Let us make this crystal clear, welcoming refugees to the UK does not mean sending people 5000 miles away to offshore detention centres, for people who are trying to seek safety, including children. Welcoming does not mean housing people in barracks and hotels across the country while people’s claims are being processed. Welcoming does not mean providing the operational plan to Royal Navy. Welcoming does not mean potentially passing a law that gives the Home Secretary the right, on her whim, to deprive people of their citizenship to the third generation, without notice.

This announcement is not happening in isolation or without terrible precedents.

The Australian government took the deadly decision in 2001 to send those excising their right to seek asylum under international law to Manus Island, under then-prime minister John Howard. This decision was revoked in 2008 but reinstated in 2012 and Manus and Nauru have become names to conjure icy terror in the hearts of those seeking refuge and those acting in solidarity with them. Read Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend But The Mountains, if it’s the last thing you do.

The State of Israel has used secret deals with Rwanda, (documented here: in moves which were extremely costly economically, and eventually collapsed. Neither scheme has worked and both are an international scandal.

READ MORE: What is the human rights situation in Rwanda?

This decision is against the spirit and letter of the Refugee Convention and the legal opinion of UNHCR UK has already expressed grave concerns about the UK’s obligations as a state as a signatory of the 1951 Convention. People who are currently in our communities in Scotland are scared and confused. Waiting for years while they are not able to move with their life in education, in communities and in workplaces.

People are deliberately put into a position where they are living in a constant life in fear. The answer is not offshore detention centre, the answer is not the Nationality and Borders Bill. The answer is not visiting Rwanda in a private jet using taxpayers’ money to create such system without the consent of the people.

As researchers with long and lived experience of the asylum system in the UK and worldwide all the evidence shows that such deterrents do not work or only when deployed with unconscionable violence, and that this will be fundamentally damaging to all involved – from security guards, deporting staff, airlines to those whose rights are violated in this way.

The answer and welcoming means having a fair, just, compassionate, and humane system based on international protection, refugee convention and human rights. We urge everyone to write to your MPs to raise your concerns and urge them to vote against the anti-refugee bill and join the No to Offshore Detention – Nationality and

Borders Bill tomorrow at 11am at George Square.

Pinar Aksu is Unesco RILA PhD Scholarship holder at the University of Glasgow; Alison Phipps is Unesco in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow