Racial Justice

Hostile Environment; segregates migrants and encourages racial profiling

Imran Arif and Peninah Wangari-Jones @peninah69 @racejustice on 'Hostile Environment policy'

In 2012 Theresa May, then Home Secretary, announced a new approach to immigration: to make Britain a “hostile environment” for people who have “no right to be here”.


The introduction of compulsory ID checks in hospitals, is just one element. The plan is to make it even tougher for people under immigration rules to get a job, rent a flat, use a bank, drive a car, get medical treatment, send kids to school, or otherwise live a normal life.


The rationale, more or less, is: ‘if the government can't actually seal tight the external borders, it can push unwanted “illegals” to leave, or deter others from coming in the first place, by making it near impossible to live a normal life.’


In October 2013, announcing the parliamentary bill that was to become the 2014 Act, Theresa May declared that its aim was: “to create a really hostile environment for illegal migrants”.


In the formal language of the act itself, the main aim is to “limit ... access to services, facilities and employment by reference to immigration status”.


The Immigration Act 2016 made these measures harsher still, and added some new ones. However, in many areas the new policies and interventions do not involve new legislation, but internal changes in policy or approach by the Home Office and other government departments. Some of these are formalised in protocols, guidance documents, and Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) for cooperation between agencies. Others are informal shifts in practice.


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