This motion is submitted by the Liberal Democrat Windrush Group. It criticises the official 'hostile environment' policy established at the Home Office by the then Home Secretary, particularly the practice of providing financial bonuses to civil servants for deporting larger numbers of immigrants, and the formal framework through which immigration policy is 'delegated' to other government departments, the NHS and private landlords.
The motion expresses a belief that the 'Windrush generation' of immigrants were targeted for deportation, even when there was a clear right to remain in the UK, because they were relatively easily located, and thus easier for Home Office officials to hit their targets.
The motion calls for a more logical, just, rights-based immigration system, a full inquiry into the behaviour of the Home Office over the Windrush generation, and the restoration of full rights to all those victimised, including compensation, through a proper judicial process.
- The official 'hostile environment' immigration policy of the Conservative Government applied to the Windrush generation, embedding institutional racism at the Home Office, which has resulted in mass breaches by the UK Government of the British Nationality Act 1948 and the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 and which has led to the deportation of retirement-age citizens with rights to live in the UK under the Immigration Act 1971.
- The government's pursuit of exemptions for the Home Office from transparency legislation such as GDPR (EU) 2016/679 and the UK Freedom of Information Act 2000, in order to conceal the extent of harm resultant from the 'hostile environment' policy.
- The policy of forcing the NHS, private landlords and the DVLA to act as quasi immigration police, resultant from the Home Office's inability to manage immigration effectively.
- The consequent application of aggregate immigration and deportation targets - with staff bonuses for deportations - which, encourage Home Office officials and contractors to make decisions contrary to domestic and international law, breaching UK regulations and published official guidance; even in cases where it was known that claims to reside were valid.
- The failure of the Home Office to establish and implement a rules-based legal, fair and just immigration system; leading to a targets-driven approach and tabloid-focused gimmicks like 'go home vans'.
- The negative effects of the government's 'hostile environment' immigration policies on the economy and public services, increasing the shortage of technical skills in industry and the shortage of skills in the NHS.
Conference believes that:
- The programme of mass deportation of the Windrush generation, and the destruction of relevant data to facilitate the programme, arose because the individuals, well established in British society, were the more easily located and victimised by administrators and contractors.
- The blame for the recent shameful Home Office approach to the Windrush generation lies in the policy established by the Home Secretary in office from 12th May 2010 to July 13th 2016.
Conference calls for:
- A public enquiry into immigration policy and practice of the UK government 1997-2018 with powers to compel the Home Office, Cabinet Office and other UK institutions to reveal all relevant information leading to the repeal of the offending legislation.
- Righting wrongs perpetrated by the Home Office in each individual case, including the full restoration of rights to indefinite leave to remain, access to housing, healthcare, welfare, and employment, plus the return of those wrongly deported, and a new task force to apply justice, with access to legal aid for victims where needed; to include the release of such individuals currently wrongly detained and wrongly facing deportation.
- The establishment of a system of compensation for all the victims of the Home Office's unjust policies in line with recommendations of Ministry of Justice appointee Martin Forde QC.