Jeremy Corbyn is to accuse Theresa May of being personally responsible for the Windrush generation controversy by setting a deliberately unreachable bar with her “hostile environment” immigration policies. The Labour leader will tell the party’s Welsh conference on Sunday that “lives have been ripped apart” by the crackdown.
Separately, Labour MP David Lammy has called May’s apology to the Windrush generation “crocodile tears” and said the government ignored warnings in 2014 about the impact of her immigration policy. The Windrush generation’s suffering was first revealed by the Guardian, whose reporter, Amelia Gentleman, has been writing about individual cases for six months.
The prime minister said this week she was “genuinely sorry” about the anxiety caused by the Home Office threatening the children of Commonwealth citizens with deportation, and has said those treated unfairly will receive compensation.
But Lammy, who has spearheaded the campaign on behalf of those affected, said the situation was a result of May’s “pernicious policies” when she was home secretary, between 2010 and 2016.
Corbyn is set to tell the Llandudno gathering on Sunday: “This week, something rotten at the heart of government has come to the surface. The Windrush scandal has exposed how British citizens who came to our country to rebuild it after the war have faced deportation because they couldn’t clear the deliberately unreachable bar set by Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ for migrants.
“And it’s not as if they weren’t warned. At the time the Tories were pushing their hostile environment policy through parliament, some of us – sadly far too few – warned about the consequences for those born in the UK and those born abroad alike. So now we’re seeing those consequences in a string of harrowing human stories. People’s lives ripped apart because of the personal decisions and actions of Theresa May and her government.”
Corbyn will cite the case of Dexter Bristol, who died last month after being classed as an illegal immigrant. His mother believes the stress of the experience contributed to his death. “She argued, powerfully and convincingly, that this is racism. He was the victim of their policies.”
A report published in 2014 by charity Legal Action Group, titled Chasing Status: If Not British, Then What Am I?, highlighted the plight of thousands of long-term UK residents who were unable to prove their immigration status, or had “irregular” status.
The research was carried out in the wake of the then home secretary’s Immigration Act, which came with a pledge to make Britain a “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants. Although it did not mention the Windrush generation specifically, the report referred to migrants who came to the UK from the Caribbean in the same era.
It warned of: “A virtually invisible – and rarely acknowledged – group, who can’t easily prove their legal status (because of lost documents or poor government record-keeping) or whose status is ‘irregular’ for a variety of legitimate reasons.”
The Home Office said in 2014 it would offer support to people with “uncertain immigration status”, but that it was “up to anyone who does not have an established immigration status to regularise their position”.
Lammy said: “The government has tried to dismiss the Windrush crisis as a product of bureaucratic error or overzealous officials, but in reality it is a direct result of the hostile environment policy introduced by Theresa May when she was home secretary. It is extraordinary that the Home Office ignored yet more warnings about the impact that their pernicious policies would have.
“The apologies made by the prime minister are merely crocodile tears given that her department was fully aware of the human cost that these policies would have. It is time for a proper and independent review of our immigration policy and the hostile environment.”
سایت تابناک از انتشار نظرات حاوی توهین و افترا و نوشته شده با حروف لاتین (فینگیلیش) معذور است.