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(en) London Anarchist Communists ACG - statement on Windrush: Tories, Labour, LibDems ALL Guilty!
Thu, 17 May 2018 09:19:05 +0300
Thanks to Windrush, Amber Rudd has fallen. She became the necessary sacrifice to save the
Theresa May government. She has been replaced as Home Secretary by Sajid Javid, the first
Black, Asian Minority Ethnic member to sit in one of the three most important positions
within the State. ---- Rudd was forced to resign because she was caught lying about
targets for deportation and to save Theresa May herself, the previous Home Secretary. ----
In 2016 almost 40,000 people were removed from the United Kingdom or left "voluntarily"
after receiving threatening letters. Many others have been detained at ferry terminals and
airports and sent to another country under the "deport first, appeal later" process. In
addition, at least 10,000 others have waited for more than six months for decisions on
claiming asylum and because they cannot work, live on an allowance of £37.75 a week, which
reduces them to extreme circumstances.
This hostile environment, this intimidating atmosphere did not originate under Rudd and
neither did it under Theresa May. We have to go back to the Labour Party under Blair for
that. In fact "hostile environment" was first used as a term in February 2010 in a Home
Office report which said: "This strategy sets out how we will continue our efforts to cut
crime and make the UK a hostile environment for those that seek to break our laws or abuse
our hospitality." This was the Home Office presided over by Labour Home Secretary Alan
Johnson. He gloated over the destruction and clearance of the "Jungle camps" by the French
authorities in 2009. When asked in Parliament "Would you deport a family whose children
know no home other than the United Kingdom?" Johnson replied: "It is not my personal job
to do the deportation. If that was the judgement, having gone through due process, then yes".
It ended up with the Labour election campaign of the same year with the slogan "Controls
on immigration. I'm voting Labour" on mugs and badges. And only 18 Labour MPS (including
Corbyn and Diane Abbott) voted against the Immigration Act in 2014.
The hostile attitude to immigrants continued under the coalition government with the
nodding complicity of the Liberal Democrats and then under the Conservatives ruling alone.
Rudd escalated the policy as she had promised to the previous Home Secretary and now Prime
Minister Theresa May. This was all done knowingly, with an awareness of the terrible
consequences for so many working class families.
The destruction of thousands of documents related to Windrush incomers also points to a
hostile environment, making it more difficult for people to prove their status.
Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry backed the checks on people looking for
jobs, homes and healthcare, which were brought in by the 2014 Immigration Act. She
defended Alan Johnson by saying that "The words were used but the culture was not!!
We should also recall that after the referendum on the EU in 2016, Corbyn stated on
several occasions that immigration controls would remain in place under Labour. Diane
Abbott went on to state that Labour did not condone an amnesty, and when questioned,
remained silent on what Labour would do about illegal immigrants.
So far, the controversy has centred on Windrush migrants but already tens of EU citizens
have been refused permanent residence. We should resist the attempt to divide people into
"good migrants", those who emigrated to Britain from the Commonwealth from the 1940s
onwards and "bad" migrants, those from the EU. In particular Boris Johnson is pushing this
line with his hard Brexit politics which envisages the re-establishment of better
relations, both economic and trading with the Commonwealth countries.
So will the appointment of Javid make a blind bit of difference? The answer is a categoric
NO! Many residents of the UK are under the illusion that they have the right to live in
Britain. They are kept in the dark about the need to apply for "settled status" whilst
others under threat include all those family dependents like children and the elderly who
believe that other family members are UK citizens just because they live here!
Javid will change the language from emphasis on targets and deportations but in fact it
will be business as usual. He has already been caught out after denying that any members
of the Windrush generation had been illegally deported. In fact, this went beyond them and
included someone originally from Somalia who was a legal British citizen. The head of Home
Office Immigration, Hugh Ind, admitted that such illegal deportations had taken place and
said he did not know why Javid and the immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, claimed to be
unaware of this.
It should be remembered that in the past Sajid Javid has supported every aspect of the
"hostile environment" policy including voting to extend powers to deport before appeal on
human rights grounds.
Meanwhile members of the Windrush generation are excluded from Britain after having gone
away on holiday, are interned in camps like Yarl's Wood, are illegally deported and are
harassed with threatening notices and denied work and access to health services after
checks. Some have lost earnings because their employers sacked them after immigration checks.
At the same time we heard of the women who went on a hunger and work strike at Yarl's Wood
after being detained there indefinitely. In response to the strike they were issued with
letters threatening them with accelerated deportation if they continued with their
protest. This was all condoned and enacted by Caroline Nokes.
Capitalism and the State use racism and xenophobia to divide and weaken us. We should
resist the increasing levels of racism and xenophobia that both the May regime and the
mass media are peddling. We should argue against the false divide between "deserving" and
"undeserving" migrants. We should mobilise against the "immigration removal centres" like
Yarl's Wood run by companies like Serco, where conditions are appalling and detainees are
treated abysmally, and we should fight for the closing down of these centres.
The treatment of the Windrush generation is appalling but we can't just say that and
forget about those who have not been here for as long who are suffering the same
treatment. We should not draw any difference between which refugees and immigrants we show
Oppose All Borders! For Internationalism!
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