Pressure on Theresa May and the Tories ratcheted up a notch on Monday evening.
The Tories got savaged inside parliament as an emergency motion on the Windrush scandal was discussed.
Newly appointed home secretary Sajid Javid—May’s replacement for Amber Rudd—claimed he would treat Windrush Generation migrants “fairly”. But he said nothing concrete about what this would mean or what would change.
Over 100 people rallied in solidarity with migrants outside parliament. Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott addressed the crowd.
“The Windrush Generation has been treated shamefully,” she said. “It was not a random thing—it was a direct consequence of the ‘hostile environment’ and the policies pursued by the Tory government and others for many decades.”
People who have been targeted by the Home Office joined the protest.
Harold has been in Britain for over 30 years. He lost his passport 20 years ago and was told by the Home Office they had no record of him.
“My close friends in Jamaica died and I couldn't go to their funerals,” he told Socialist Worker. “It was heart-breaking.
“Theresa May needs to go as well as Amber Rudd. She was the one working in the Home Office and she is responsible. She is a racist person.”
Rudd had been implementing the policy of the previous home secretary—May—and the racist policy of the entire Tory government.
With Rudd gone, there is no one else who can take the blame on May’s behalf. The outrage at the Windrush scandal can feed into a movement which can claim more scalps. It can also win justice and guarantees for migrants.
Protesters in parliament square heard from NEU union joint general secretary Kevin Courtney. He argued that Theresa May's “hostile environment” was designed to do far more than intimidate undocumented migrants.
He said that it was “a message to racists” that it is alright to tell migrants to go home. “She was stoking up racism when she did that.”
Courtney went on to describe how the Tories are “trying to turn schools into mini immigration offices.”
He argued that migrants shouldn't be divided up into the deserving and the undeserving, and said EU migrants also “need to be allowed to stay”.
Labour MEP Claude Moraes told Socialist Worker, “There's a wider issue about British immigration law since the 1960s which is not being spoken about.
“The Windrush generation is not a one off. Immigration removal centres are a scandal as well, for instance. There needs to be more comprehensive reform of the immigration system.”
Abbott argued for people “to campaign until we get a fair, equal and non-racist immigration system.”
The Tories are in damage limitation mode. Javid has made much of the fact he is a second generation migrant.
“It’s not just about personnel change, it’s also about action,” he said on Monday.
“The phrase ‘hostile’ is not a phrase I’m going to use—it’s a compliant environment.”
Although the name of the strategy may have changed, the aim remains the same. Javid is clear that undocumented migrants will still be targeted and sent home. He is as nasty as the rest of the Tories.
The protests must continue until the Tories are pushed from office.