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Theresa May. At present, all under-16s have the right to a school place, even if their parents entered the country illegally [Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA].
We can all agree that illegal immigrants should be rooted out, wherever they have hidden themselves, before being made to face justice and punished accordingly.
But Theresa May’s idea had nothing to do with any of that.
She wanted to punish children for the sins of their parents.
Perhaps she allowed herself to be guided by her religion in this, as she says she is over Brexit. But “visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” is an Old Testament punishment (Exodus 34:7) and This Writer thought she said she was a Christian.
Either way, her plan to push the children of illegal immigrants to the back of the queue for school places is unacceptable according to the law of this land: Children aged under 16 have a right to an education, regardless of their parents’ actions.
And the plan to turn teachers into border guards, demanding to see pupils’ passports, is beyond the pale.
Teachers are already overworked. They don’t have time for an extra burden, passed onto them because Mrs May simply wasn’t capable of doing her job and protecting our borders when she was Home Secretary.
In addition, This Writer did not have a passport until long after leaving school. In fact I was in my early 20s when I left the UK for the first time, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. What was planned for people like me? It is a hare-brained idea.
Even the language used is worrying. Apparently Mrs May wanted every Whitehall department to be involved in mitigating her failure to reduce immigration – both legal and illegal.
Or, as the BBC suggests it was put, they were all to have their hands “dipped in blood”.
That doesn’t seem very Christian of Mrs May.
“Satanic” would be a better word.
Claims that Theresa May wanted to put the children of illegal migrants to the back of the queue for school places show the “nasty party never really went away”, Angela Rayner has said today.
Rayner spoke out after the BBC published part of a leaked memo which suggested the Home Office wanted schools to withdraw offers of school places for children whose parents had been found living in Britain illegally.
The shadow education secretary joined a chorus of teachers and education leaders who criticised the measure as draconian. Local authorities have an obligation to provide education to children regardless of the status of their parents.
May was “trying to offload the failings of her department”, which failed to meet a net migration target, Rayner told the BBC.
She said May, the former home secretary, sought to blame “innocent children” and “bring our teachers into border control”, a measure Rayner describes as “impractical”. Rayner described the now prime minister’s actions as running contrary to British values.
By law, children under the age of 16 have a right to an education, regardless of their parent’s circumstances.
Entitlement to free NHS treatment depends on the length and purpose of a foreign national’s residence in the UK, not their nationality.
Hospital treatment is free to people who are ordinarily resident in the UK – but then, these are people who would have registered with a GP, whose details will be on file and who would not, therefore, need to show a passport when seeking treatment.
In England, a visitor from the EEA will need to present a valid EHIC or other healthcare documents (such as S2 or S1 forms) or they may be charged for care. A visitor from a non-EEA country would need to ensure they are covered for healthcare through personal medical insurance for the duration of their visit, even if they are a former UK resident.
And many services in NHS hospitals are exempt from charges, meaning they are free to everybody – including Accident and Emergency.
So there is no reason for anyone to have to bring a passport with them to hospital. Either they are on the register, or they will have insurance, or they’ll need to pay – but only if the service requires it.
I can’t, at the moment, see any reason for hospitals to demand passports from people seeking treatment.
I cannot understand why the Department of Health’s permanent secretary, Chris Wormald, is trying to suggest this as a requirement…
… Unless he is simply trying to persecute foreigners – and that is not in his job description.
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