Socialist Worker

Protesters ratchet up pressure on Tories over Windrush

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2602

People protested outside parliament on Monday

People protested outside parliament on Monday (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The resignation of home secretary Amber Rudd hasn’t ended the pressure on Theresa May and the Tories.

The Tories were heavily criticised inside parliament on Monday as an emergency motion on the Windrush scandal was discussed.

Newly appointed home secretary Sajid Javid claimed he would treat Windrush Generation migrants “fairly”. But he said nothing concrete about what this would mean.

Outside over 100 people rallied in solidarity with migrants. 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 heartbreaking.

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.”

Elsewhere in Britain people ­protested against the government. In Oxford, for example, 100 people came out.

Detainee

Former detainee Yvonne Williams—who was only released from Yarl’s Wood detention centre last Friday—slammed the government for ­treating people “like dogs”.

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 the teachers’ 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.

Stoking

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.”

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, “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 protests must continue until the Tories are pushed from office.


Tory racism targets NHS

Details of the reality of the “hostile environment” for “illegal” migrants that Theresa May created continue to emerge.

One of the memos that brought down Rudd discusses Operation Perceptor which involves arresting and deporting people on the same day.

A memo also outlines how “we have undertaken an intense programme of activity with the top 20 ‘highest risk’ NHS trusts to improve their ability to identify chargeable patients.

“Our Local Partnership managers visited trusts to support frontline NHS staff to establish robust immigration status checking systems.”

Sixteen of these trusts agreed systems to “prevent upfront access to healthcare to which illegal immigrants are not entitled.”

The racist approach to the NHS crisis is still in place.

The NHS Employers organisation said last week that 400 visas for doctors to work in Britain had been refused since December.

The Evening Standard newspaper said on Tuesday that May had personally intervened to prevent the doctors from coming here.

And 35 NHS trusts accused immigration officials of putting patient safety at risk by blocking visas for around 100 Indian doctors who were offered jobs in the health service

The scheme the Indian doctors would have come to Britain under—“earn, learn and return”—means workers come to Britain for three years and then have to leave.

This is scandalous in itself. Migrants are used to plug staff shortages created by government cuts.

They are then told to get out after they have served their purpose.


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