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Hostile policy towards immigrants in the United Kingdom

It is undeniable that there exists in this country an unjust migratory policy, defended for decades by the Conservatives. It focuses on forced expulsions. The scandal already happened but the situation was not remedied.

 

Glenda Arcia

After strong criticism from humanitarian organisations and political leaders, the British Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, resigned and the Prime Minister, Theresa May, apologised for the mistreatment of migrants established in the United Kingdom since 1948.

Rudd’s resignation was the fourth from a senior official in six months and took place on 29th April, within a few days of local elections on 3rd May.

In a letter to the Conservative leader, the 54-year-old politician admitted she “inadvertently misled the Home Affairs Select Committee over targets for removal of illegal immigrants”.

Her place has been occupied by Sajid Javid, a 48-year-old British man of Pakistani origin, the perfect prototype to try to build the image of an inclusive government and hide the Tories’ real plans relating to foreigners.

For the opposition Labour Party, the change of ministers was only a strategy aiming to avoid the blame falling on the person truly responsible.

“Clearly Rudd had to go, but the really important issue here is a deep-seated hostility within the Home Office of which Teresa May was architect”, wrote Laura Pidcock on Twitter, a member of this party.

This affirmation was supported by numerous voices that considered one resignation and several apologies to be insufficient.

Rudd gone, but hostile policy remains, it can be read in local newspapers.

Over recent months, several scandals have rocked the Conservative administration, but this time the problem cannot be solved with simple measures.

In June 1948, 492 citizens from Caribbean countries arrived at Tilbury Dock on board the ship Empire Windrush, and they became the first of many groups to move to British territory to cover the lack of workers following the Second World War (1939-1945).

From this year until 1971, thousands of people, including children, were established in this nation at the re            quest of the government, and they received permission to remain there if they wanted it.

After seven decades of living and working in the United Kingdom, the stability of those migrants and their children was interrupted by reforms driven by May in 2012, when she was Home Secretary, and subsequent actions by her successor, Amber Rudd.

Many of them were considered illegal and they were required to provide documents for every year of permanency in the country.

When they were not able to demonstrate the former, and facing a lack of official records, they lost their jobs and access to basic services, as well as being deported or threatened with it.

Hidden by the Conservatives, the scandal came to light after the revelation in local newspapers of cases of citizens affected by these rules and it took on a special relevance during the recent summit of the Commonwealth of Nations, in which representatives of Caribbean states demanded explanations and immediate answers.

The head of the British government lamented “the anxiety caused” and said she wanted “to dispel any impression that my government is in some sense clamping down on Commonwealth citizens, particularly those from the Caribbean. I don’t want any of them to be in any doubt about their right to remain here in the United Kingdom”, she stated.

“I take this issue very seriously. Those who arrived from the Caribbean before 1973 and lived here permanently without significant periods of time away in the last 30 years have the right to remain in the UK,” she added. At the same time, she assured that those affected would be compensated and would receive any necessary help. Shortly before, Rudd had also apologised saying she was “concerned that the Home Office has become too concerned with policy and strategy, and sometimes loses sight of the individual. It has been appalling”.

While the justifications and promises from the government were continuing, the scandal began to grow in larger proportions due to the disclosure of the government’s plans and other decisions.

Based on statements from civil servants, and after a process of investigation, The Guardian newspaper reported the possible destruction of boarding cards and other documents for members of the Windrush generation, with which it would have been possible to prove their right to be considered British citizens.

Also, it revealed that in 2017, Rudd sent a letter to May where she promised to remove more than four thousand migrants every year.

According to the newspaper, in the four-page document, the Home Secretary assured that she would supervise an increase in controls and actions to achieve the forced or voluntary exit of a number of undocumented people that was 10% greater than those deported by May when she held this position.

These events caused deep upset and non-governmental organisations organised protest marches.

For his part, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded Rudd’s resignation due to her “cruel and misdirected immigration policy”.

During an appearance before Parliament, Corbyn criticised the hostile actions of May and her cabinet towards those citizens and he asked them to put into practice the promises made. “The prime minister knew full well the problems the Windrush generation were facing… Yet we now know that when she (Rudd) took over from her predecessor, her intent was to harden this cruel and misdirected policy, pledging to do so ruthlessly”, he stated.

Furthermore, he said that the Tories ignored the warnings of Labour ministers on the topic and demanded an immediate solution.

On 29th April, more than 200 MPs sent a letter to the head of the Government where they demanded the inclusion in the law of the rights of these people and others in similar situations.

Despite recognising, if half-heartedly, their guilt, the Conservative administration has not provided data of great relevance, such as the total figure of those possibly affected by their regulations and the real number of those detained or deported. Surrounded by numerous unknowns, the affair remains extremely concerning and requires much more than apologies and trivial responses. (PL)

(Translated by Donna Davison – Email: donna_davison@hotmail.com) – Photos: Pixabay

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