London Labour and the hostile environment

Yesterday, at Lewisham Deptford’s General Committee, we took the decision as to what we should propose as policy for Labour’s London Regional Conference. We passed the following motion on the use of “On-Site Immigration Officers” by local authorities working beside the teams responsible for financially supporting children under the Children’s Act. As the motion states, many local authorities prioritise the safe guarding of funds, and the location of Immigration Officers in the local authority teams was originally proposed by Hostile Environment Working Group.

The words of the motion are presented below and further evidence as to both the iniquity of the policy, and Labour’s collusion is presented. 😆

I would ask any London Labour activists to ask/mandate their conference delegations/clps to support this motion in the priorities ballot.

Download –> LewDept Lab NRPF Motion for London Labour Conference

This has also been reported by the Labour Campaign for Free Movement.

The text is also below/overleaf. …

ooOOOoo

NRPF in Labour Councils: Reject the Hostile Environment, Support Migrants

NRPF (No Recourse to Public Funds) is a condition applied to most migrants, ensuring exclusion from welfare benefits. However, migrant families may present to their Council seeking help under Section 17 of the Children Act, to protect their children from destitution. This support is provided from Council budgets.

Incentivised by austerity, many London councils are neglecting their legal duty, prioritising gatekeeping over children’s safety, and leaving migrant families with young children street homeless. Antagonistic practices including embedding On-Site Immigration Officers within the council deter migrants from claiming support. This practice of embedding OSIO’s in local councils was designed by the Hostile Environment Working Group to increase Data harvesting opportunities with local authorities.

Eight of the nine councils with OSIO’s are London boroughs with a Labour majority. For decades, Labour has failed to challenge right-wing anti-migrant narratives, allowing a culture of division and scapegoating to pervade UK politics. The appropriate response to brutal Tory cuts is to put a spotlight on the government responsible, not withdraw support from society’s most vulnerable.

We call on Labour-run London councils to:

  • Immediately instigate the removal of any embedded Immigration Officers, and end collusion with Hostile Environment initiatives
  • Where there is evidence of hostile policy, immediately instigate an independent review of the NRPF Department
  • Ensure that any future policies are fair, prioritising the safeguarding of children
  • Campaign to reverse cuts made by central government
  • Lobby for central government to reimburse councils for Section 17 funding, and ultimately end all use of NRPF against migrants.

 

Lewisham Deptford CLP …

Innocent until proved guilty: Revoked

I have been considering the Windrush story. Basically, the British Government asked citizens form the West Indies to come to the UK to help rebuild the country after the war. They arrived to a sickening racist welcome, they brought their children, settled, married and started families. In 1972, the then Tory Government removed the right of Commonwealth citizens to arrive and stay with “indefinite right to remain”. In 2010, Theresa May became Home Secretary with the target of reducing net migration to 10,000’s, and passed two immigration acts, the 2nd of which legitimised a hostile environment including the racist “go home” vans. In addition, it made employers, landlords and horrendously teachers and hospital workers adjuncts of the immigration service. It also produced a duty to prove status i.e. they abolished innocent until proven guilty. In late 2010, the Home Office in a building move destroyed the immigration records of the Commonwealth Citizens which left many of their children in an undocumented state. They became unable to prove their rights of residency and in some cases have lost their jobs and access to benefits. Some have been illegally deported; Under Amber Rudd, May’s successor, the Home Office also set targets for deportations; Parliament is now rowing about the facts.

People that have lived here all their lives are being denied benefits, medical treatment, being fired and deported. It’s just not right.

I have, with comrades being campaigning to ensure that my local council does not support the hostile environment and not work with 3rd sector organisations that co-operate with the Home Office in this area of enforcement. Lewisham Labour’s Council Manifesto states,

Lewisham will become a Sanctuary Borough, protecting the rights of all migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

There is a problem for Labour though, only 6 MPs voted against the Immigration Act 2014 which introduced the “hostile environment” and revoked innocent until proved guilty for the purposes of immigration law. It’s an example where the clock has turned, and I followed the whip is no longer a good enough excuse. Public officials must always consider what’s right, not the line, nor electoral success.

My final comment is about the new Data Protection Act. They are proposing that immigration record processing is exempted from the DPA. This means that proving a right to remain will become almost impossible as the organisation responsible for keeping records does not have to issue subject matter access requests and an effective defence, a proof of rights becomes impossible. We should also note that the Tory’s abolished legal aid for immigration cases and if we leave the EU, we may increase the numbers of those vulnerable to this appalling treatment by two factors of magnitude.

Many of the fact quoted above come from this article at freemovement.org. …

A coach and horses through privacy rights

A coach and horses through privacy rights

I have just been approached by a Trade Union member who wanted to know how to complain about his employer’s record keeping. The short answer is to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office. It reminded me that the ORG are campaigning to change the current Data Protection Bill to allow non-profits to represent complainants; this reminds me that Trade Unions might also want to benefit from this legislative protection, but I was horrified by the Government’s proposed exemption of immigration data from the remit of the Data Protection law and thus the GDPR.  …

Reason

This was published in Oct, last year. A look at the literature on the impact on wages and the public finances of EU migration.

Does immigration harm the job prospects of the UK-born? Brexit and the UK labour market



Two quotes worth highlighting,

Research on the impact of immigration to the UK has detected no negative effects on the average wages of UK-born workers (Dustmann et al, 2005Manacorda et al, 2012).

and

Research also shows that EU immigrants have contributed positively to the UK fiscal budget. This is perhaps not surprising given that on average they are younger and more likely to be in work than the UK-born and therefore tend to pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

But you can’t reason people out of positions thy haven’t reasoned themselves into. …

Parliamentary Sovereignty’s best sell by date

Parliamentary Sovereignty’s best sell by date

I went to the Labour Campaign for Human Rights meeting in the Commons yesterday, the keynote speaker was Kier Starmer, the Labour Brexit spokesman. He opened his speech stating he had voetd “Remain” based on jobs and rights and woke up on 27th June asking what world we live in. He argued that now we needed to accept democracy and that UK’s politics is about the new relationship with the EU. He argues we need to re-root our rights in UK law! (What like the Human Rights Act?) Labour is proposing a new Law to transcribe the EU’s rights and protections into UK law, but under the Tories this will be weak since the Tories are not planning to bring the “Fundamental Charter of Rights” across into UK law. …

Not so bad

Not so bad

Those of you who regularly read this blog will see I stood for Secretary of Lewisham Deptford Labour Party as part of left/momentum slate, and those of you who follow Momentum Exposed will know we lost. This was quite disappointing and we have had some difficulty in working out how to develop Labour’s campaigning beyond the electoralism & careerism practiced by the Labour First influenced majority. I think, and many of my allies agree that one of the differences is that on the Left we want to empower and engage our members and our voters; it’s been hard to do that and get the Deptford Labour Party via its General Committee (GC) to express its views when we are in contention with the new MP, and the Council majority. There would also seem to be a desire to exclude the ideas and enthusiasm of many of the new joiners. It was when looking back at what we as members had achieved, that I came to the conclusion that we haven’t done so badly and you can make a difference by joining the Labour Party. Over the last four years, we i.e. ordinary members of the Labour Party have made a difference, most recently on the New Bermondsey Development aka the Millwall CPO but also we have moved forward the national trade union campaign against blacklisting,  the Council’s initiatives on welcoming refugees, on Education and have even won a commitment to return the Anchor to the High Street.

While at times the Labour Party’s procedures seem strange, and exceptionally ill-tempered, belonging to the Labour Party makes a difference. These decisions have involved us debating with and winning other members to our point of view and ensuring that our Councillors take this forward.  …

Labour’s Conference Lost

Labour’s Conference Lost

I was privileged to attend Labour’s Annual Conference in Liverpool as a voting delegate. The Conference was the book-end of a summer in which the Labour Party re-opened the debates about programme and strategy which many had thought finished last year. This article reports my experience and views; it is quite long, about 2750 words and is broken up into sections, Unity and the membership, some comments on the politics of Conference, a short section on the future, also covering the Tuesday atmosphere and Wednesday’s Leader’s speech. This is followed by a commentary on the Rules debate and the surrounding shenanigans; the main part of this article/report is concluded with comments on the state of the debate on Immigration and Brexit.  …