For anyone wanting a two minute summary of all that is wrong about the Windrush scandal, they should watch this passionate speech by Labour MP David Lammy.
The government is doing its best to try and sweep Windrush under the carpet as some sort of administrative error or oversight.
The hollow apologies by Theresa May and Amber Rudd barely conceal the government’s efforts to treat this as an unusual glitch in what it portrays as an otherwise perfectly working immigration system.
The reality of the matter is that Windrush is simply the tip of the iceberg.
It is the daily humiliation that immigrants to the UK are faced with because of the ‘hostile environment’ policy engineered by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary.
From racist rhetoric to aggressive behaviour and attitudes, the ‘hostile environment’ has created an intolerant xenophobic society where those deemed to be foreign nationals are routinely discriminated against.
Examples of how the ‘hostile environment’ has operated in practice include:
- Passport checks in hospitals resulting in pregnant and seriously ill patients being denied care and treatment
- Schools sharing immigration and nationality data of their pupils with the Home Office
- Homelessness charities reporting rough sleepers to Immigration Enforcement
- The use of ‘GO HOME OR FACE ARREST’ advertising vans
- Members of Parliament tipping off the Home Office about constituents who approached them for help
- Landlords refusing to rent properties to those with foreign sounding names
- Banks closing down accounts
- Immigration Enforcement arresting and detaining couples on their wedding day
- Police reporting victims of crime to the Home Office
The policy has also manifested in the creation and implementation of complex immigration rules and policies that have
- separated husbands from wives and parents from children
- denied elderly parents living alone abroad from joining their British families in the UK
- prevented children entitled to citizenship from naturalising due to extortionate application fees
All of this is designed to make foreign nationals live a soul-destroying existence and feel so unwelcome that they will voluntarily leave the UK.
Windrush is just the tip of the iceberg and it would be an injustice to all the victims of the ‘hostile environment’ for it to be treated otherwise.
Visadreams.com, Diary of an Immigration Lawyer, is a blog run by Fahad Ansari, the director and principal solicitor of Riverway Law, a niche UK immigration and nationality law practice based in London. If you would like any advice or assistance in relation to your immigration matter, please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your details here.