The Tories are exposed yet again – this time over their continuing ‘hostile environment’ to immigrants policy.
It links several threads of racism in the Conservative Party: Not only does it show that the legacy of the Windrush Scandal is no change in policy – exactly as This Site stated immediately after the scandal broke – but it reminds us that racism is institutionalised among the Tories, as we see with Boris Johnson’s recent comments about burqa-wearing Muslim women.
We are left with information that should be devastating to Conservative Party support – that they are still deporting people; that they are hushing up unlawful detention cases with the kind of ‘gagging’ orders that Sajid Javid denies using on Windrush-related compensation issues; and that they are hiding the facts about the number of times they have separated children from their parents.
Oh, and Theresa May is a hypocrite for criticising Donald Trump’s “separation” policy. But we’ve seen her hypocrisy so many times before, it is hardly worth noticing here.
The worst aspect of this is that the Tories are likely to gain support because of this. They have used their puppets in the press to whip up racism among the general public, as can be seen by the reaction to Mr Johnson’s recent comments.
When Kisi Assan dropped off her two-year-old daughter at nursery, it was the first time they had been separated since the child’s birth. Following a summons from the Home Office, she then set off to attend a meeting at a nearby immigration reporting Assan [not her real name] had no idea that it was part of a plan to deport her at short notice to west Africa. Shortly after arriving at the centre, the 28-year-old was restrained by eight security officials, and transferred to a detention facility – without her child.
This practice is one of the toxic yet least-publicised elements of Theresa May’s “hostile environment”, introduced when she was home secretary. While Donald Trump’s policy of separating immigrant families has drawn international opprobrium, the practice continues largely unchallenged in the UK. Some say that when the prime minister recently described Trump’s scheme as “deeply disturbing” and “wrong”, she must have hoped her own approach would be overlooked.
Lawyers point out that UK unlawful detention cases are often settled out of court and silenced by confidentiality clauses. Inspired by the universal condemnation of Trump’s separation policy, parents with ongoing cases against the Home Office have spoken out about a system that, lawyers claim, fails to take a child’s welfare into account. “It is cruel and completely unnecessary,” said Janet Farrell of solicitors Bhatt Murphy.
Every year, hundreds of children are separated from a parent who is detained in a UK immigration centre – and numbers continue to rise. According to the charity Bail for Immigration Detainees (Bid), 322 children were separated from 167 parents in the 12 months to the end of July, an increase of 16% on the previous year. A proportion of the children involved will be in the sole care of the detained parent, and have to enter the care system. The Home Office does not keep records of the number of times it separates a child from a parent, a power it wields without apparent oversight.
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