Theresa May this week reaffirmed her vow to cut net immigration by two thirds, to below 100,000 a year. That target eluded her as home secretary—despite law after law and raid after raid to create a “hostile environment” for migrants.
Even many Tories and bosses say it is unworkable and bad for the economy. But that doesn’t stop them backing a government that relies on racist scapegoating for its support.
Labour has not yet announced any details of its immigration policy. Jeremy Corbyn rightly said that it would recognise migrants’ “contribution”. But he also said migration had to be “managed” in order to be “fair”.
Instead of defending the right to migrate, Labour is set to haggle with the Tories over how far to restrict it. That’s a losing strategy.
As soon as Labour accepts that “unmanaged” migration is “unfair” it boosts parties that look sincere in their anti-migrant racism.
And behind the numbers are policies with life and death consequences.
Around 80 people drowned in a shipwreck between Libya and Italy last weekend because they couldn’t enter Europe safely.
A man was electrocuted on the roof of a Eurostar train leaving Paris last week in a desperate bid to get to Britain.
The Tories’ racist assault must be stopped. The only solution is a principled defence of the freedom of movement, refugees and migrants’ rights.