Report argues border controls are embedded in UK society and that all sectors must refuse to participate
Human rights groups have published a report laying bare the extent to which the government’s “hostile environment” immigration policies have spread into all areas of UK life, encouraging “discriminatory” and “racist” behaviour.
The report, by Liberty, the National Union of Students and the Migrants Rights Network, among others, shows immigration controls are embedded at the heart of the UK’s public services, and that they:
Encourage discrimination against black and ethnic minority (BAME) and visibly “foreign” people.
Disproportionately affect young people, homeless people and those on lower incomes, who are less likely to have a passport or other form of ID.
Shatter the carefully cultivated relationships of trust between public servants and those they serve.
Prevent frontline workers from supporting people they know are in dire need, while burdening them with complex immigration-related tasks.
This approach of government-sponsored hostility to migrants was spearheaded by Theresa May during her time as home secretary and largely enforced through the 2014 and 2016 Immigration Acts.
The government now requires employers, landlords, private sector workers, NHS staff and other public servants – often unwillingly – to check a person’s status before they can offer them a job, housing, healthcare or other support, the report says.
The report outlines several ways that people working across all sectors in the UK can help diminish the behaviour, saying: “The government’s attempt to create a hostile environment is dependent on the willing participation of people across society – but that will also be its downfall.
“For as long as we refuse to participate, we can fight the government’s attempts to turn us into border guards. We can fight for a country that guarantees people’s human rights, whoever they are and wherever they come from.”