Colin Yeo Profile picture
14 Jan, 11 tweets, 4 min read
1. Very pleased that my article with @MBEGriffiths about the hostile environment policy has been published in the journal Critical Social Policy, after over four years of work on it. Thread on some of what we say.…
2. We look at the origins, extent, operationalisation and impacts of the hostile environment in the labour and housing markets, public services, pricing, healthcare and education.
3. It is a policy over which, by design, the government lost control because it relies on third parties to implement it on the ground.
4. The modern policy has long antecedents but from around 2012 the approach was dramatically and recklessly expanded and any pretence at 'balance' by making immigration compliance easier was abandoned.
5. We argue the hostile environment was never an evidence-driven policy expected to achieve measurable immigration outcomes but rather an ideological policy propelled by a set of moral values.
6. There have been some attempts by civil servants at retrospective rationalisation of the policy but on these terms the policy fails very badly indeed.
7. Against that the consequences for individuals have been calamitous, as the work of @ameliagentleman showed. Huge wider social damage has also been done.
8. We look at why the policy has been such a disaster: poor data, an inherently discriminatory system of selective checking, failure to understand British immigration history and that undocumented ≠ unlawful, uncontrolled and therefore overzealous application on the ground.
9. Really, the hostile environment is not so much a single policy as an overall approach: the 'devolution' or 'deputisation' of immigration controls. The effect is to leave its (intended and collateral) targets physically present, but criminalised, marginalised and precarious.
10. There has been some push back by some, but the whole hostile environment approach remains firmly embedded in law and practice, which is likely to have serious impacts on EEA citizens living in the UK after June 2021.
11. Anyway, we started writing this in mid 2016 before @ameliagentleman broke the Windrush story. As you can imagine, it has gone through quite a few versions since then! Article is open access thanks to @unibirmingham.

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More from @ColinYeo1

12 Jan
Properly damning from independent inspectors @IndependentCI on Home Office indifference to the impact of the hostile environment:…
Home Office has collected less than 40% of fines levied on employers and raising level of fine has *reduced* effectiveness because smaller employers (who bear the brunt) are forced out of business:
And voluntary (and enforced) returns have *fallen* since hostile environment was introduced, the opposite of what was intended. While thinking about that, consider also the appalling price that was paid by the Windrush generation for this ill conceived policy.
Read 4 tweets
4 Oct 20
1/ Some quick thoughts on the Priti Patel proposals. First, remember around 3/4 refugees reaching the UK are genuine refugees according to Home Office stats and the number of claims fell last year. Real problem is delay in Home Office decision making:
2/ Patel’s plans look like a tired rehash of the New Labour years. They are certainly not new. ‘One stop’ appeals were introduced by Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. My first job was at Oakington ‘reception’ centre in 2000...
3/ Judges are already instructed to doubt claims of asylum seekers travelling through safe countries by section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc) Act 2004...
Read 6 tweets
2 Oct 20
I'm getting really, really fed up of the asylum nonsense this last week. It is like a broken record from the Britpop era. I have some questions people should be asking Priti Patel: (thread)
1. The number of asylum claims has fallen over the last year and nearly 3/4 are now genuine refugees according to Home Office stats. Why are extreme measures needed at all?…
2. Why has the asylum backlog been allowed to build up over the last few years, even before the pandemic began? Why is it now taking over 6 months to decide claims and why can the Home Office not make decisions more quickly, like it used to?… Image
Read 8 tweets
30 Sep 20
The MV Earl William, a former cross Channel ferry, was purchased and used to house up to 240 asylum seekers in 1987. It broke free in a storm after 6 months and the occupants had to be rescued, at which point that experiment was abandoned. Until now...
As I wrote in Welcome to Britain, “the government of the day was unafraid of or indifferent to accusations of using a Napoleonic-era floating prison hulk.”
I only mentioned Blair’s ‘regional protection zones’ plan from 2003 in passing in the book (p129...) because I thought that idea was (rightly) dead and buried.
Read 4 tweets
3 Sep 20
1/ I’ve been thinking and writing about the hostile environment for ages but there’s something about it I’ve only recently come to realise. Shortish thread.
2/ I wrote my first big piece trying to explain how radical and wide ranging the policy was in 2017, many months before the Windrush scandal was exposed.…
3. It took a really good journalist like @ameliagentleman to investigate and expose what was going on by shining a light on the real human impact. And there was consummate timing involved, with the Commonwealth summit.
Read 11 tweets
18 Aug 20
A few problems with this. 1. The PBS has nothing to do with asylum or refugees 2. The scale is not ‘huge’ it is a few thousand refugees, many who would previously have come on lorries anyway 3. It isn’t illegal to break immigration law if you are a genuine refugee (cont...)
4. The gangs aren’t traffickers, as far as we know, they are smugglers - there’s a BIG difference 5. UK does have an obligation under Refugee Convention even to a refugee who travels through a safe third country 6. Leaving EU makes it harder not easier to return them to France...
7. Human rights lawyers are accountable - to their clients and their regulators 8. ‘Country’s best interests’ is not one of the things lawyers are allowed to think about when representing a client nor should it be 9. We’re not some sort of Fifth Column though, thanks...
Read 4 tweets

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