On Tuesday (September 11) TUC conference delegates debated strategies for ending the Tory government’s ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy especially in light of the recent Windrush scandal.
Unite delegate Kingsley Abrams shares his thoughts on the matter in the comment below.
The Windrush Scandal and the hostile environment policy which led to it raises one fundamental question.What does it mean to be a citizen in this country?
What does it mean that working people – who have lived here for decades – can lose their homes, lose their jobs, lose their pensions, lose their health care? What does it mean that they can be hauled from their homes and imprisoned in a detention centre and wait to be deported to a country they may have never even visited?
Make no mistake. The Windrush scandal was no accident. It wasn’t the result of some oversight or administrative error. This was planned. This was calculated. This was intended. And the result was not just some inconvenience.
Three UK Citizens – and they were UK citizens by any sane definition – died before they could be repatriated from the Caribbean, back to the UK. They died in a country which was not their home. The fact that Whitehall bureaucrats in the Home Office thought it was their home – simply because of the colour of their skin — well, there’s a word for that.
This is an expression of deep, systemic racism in the heart of the establishment and our movement must never hesitate to shine the light of scrutiny wherever that evil may lurk. It would be a mistake for us to believe this was a one-off incident. We cannot just assume that it will not be repeated. This is not a Government whose word we can trust.
The stakes are too high. In less than six months from now, Britain will leave the European Union. Enough has been said about Brexit this week – but hear this.
We are told that the Government have promised to offer ‘settled status’ to the 3.8m European citizens living and working in the UK.
What value is a promise from this government?
Let us reflect the finest traditions of our movement. Let’s close ranks – UK citizens, European citizens, citizens of the world who have chosen to call this country their home. Let us stand together now. Our collective strength is more powerful than any hollow promise from Downing Street.