Theresa May’s handling of immigration is a concern. There is now a real issue of whether her government can be trusted to protect the rights of 3 million EU citizens living in the UK. These concerns may well be noted elsewhere in the EU during the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
“We will decide for ourselves how we control immigration …. But let me be clear. We are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration again.” Theresa May, UK Prime Minister, 2 October 2016
The Windrush kids have been in the UK for so long, and are accepted so widely, that nobody would even consider them immigrants. They never formally naturalised or applied for a British passport because they never needed to. But that is not how the Home Office thinks. To them, you are never British, not really. You are a unit which can potentially be moved into the deportation column.
For example, there’s the case of Paulette Wilson, 61, who was ten when she moved to the UK. In October 2017, Ms Wilson was sent to Yarlswood Immigration Detention Centre. This is a prison for people who have committed no crime, where they can be held indefinitely without trial. The Home Office planned to deport her and only the last minute intervention of her local MP stopped it. She is one of the lucky ones. Immigration minister Caroline Noakes admitted today that at least some of the Windrush kids have already been deported.
The Windrush kids spent 50 years untroubled by immigration enforcement and lived as normal British citizens. No-one questioned their Britishness. No one challenged their status.
Or at least they didn’t, until Theresa May arrived in the Home Office. Her primary task was to inject the concept of ‘border’ into people’s minds, into their day-to-day interactions. British citizens would become their own immigration enforcement officials, spying on one another, checking one another’s papers, and reporting one another to the authorities.
Landlords who did not check their tenants’ papers were subject to fines or lengthy prison sentences. The same went for employers. Migrants getting a driving licence or going for medical treatment were also checked. And then the Windrush kids, who had a free status, suddenly found that they did not have the papers required. And then the Home Office’s systematic bullying started. The bullying is not a mistake in the system. It is the system
For now, the Home Office promises to treat EU migrants well. But we’ve no idea how they’ll treat them years from now, when the next wave of anti-migrant hysteria pushes them to make the environment even more hostile.
Meanwhile, a certain British newspaper continues to demonise people who come to live in the United Kingdom.