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As Tories attack migrants – put them in a hostile environment, not refugees

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Issue 2599
We need to fight Tory racism
We need to fight Tory racism – and defend refugees (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Theresa May is fulfilling her 2013 promise to create a “hostile environment” for migrants.

Tory immigration policy is causing misery as families are ripped apart, people are denied rights to work or face deportation.

Just last week it was revealed that the Home Office is encouraging asylum seekers to leave Britain even before officials have considered their cases.

Years of legal aid cuts make it more difficult to appeal the government’s decisions.

Racism is not an additional element to these policies but at the heart of them.

Recently the government has started threatening people who had lived in Britain for decades with deportations.

Paulette Wilson, who moved to London from Jamaica 51 years ago, was sent to Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre last October.

This is partly because immigration laws passed in 2012 and 2014 require employers to carry on tests on employees.

People who have been in Britain for decades find it hard to provide the level of documentation necessary.


It is racist to say, as May did in 2013, that it “can’t be fair” that asylum seekers “continue to exist as everybody else does”.

She said it was wrong they had “bank accounts, driving licences and access to rented accommodation”.

A slew of Tory lies make it harder for migrants to live ordinary lives. An immigration law from 2016 has recently come into effect, stopping some children from going to school.

The fresh attacks come at a time when the Tories are thrashing out their post-Brexit immigration policy. Top level Tories have spoken time and again about their desire to curb the ability for migrants to live and work in Britain.

Speaking about immigration after Brexit May talked of “the impact that net migration can have on people, on access to service, on infrastructure”.

Migrants are used as a scapegoat to explain away diminishing public services, cuts to the NHS and lack of housing.

But it is not migrants who are making access to resources difficult—it’s the Tories who have spent eight years cutting and privatising.

Socialist Worker argues for freedom of movement so everyone can live where they choose. The effect of immigration policy can be seen in Yarl’s Wood, where women are detained indefinitely.

But immigration policy is just one element of a deeply racist society. Racism is at the heart of a system that divides, discriminates and demonises.

We must fight every attack by the racist Tories to make life “hostile” for migrants. But we also need to fight for a type of society that ends the policing of borders at all.

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