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Rob Ford @robfordmancs
, 18 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Doing a lot of migration/Windrush threads at the moment. Here's a new one on why I think Amber Rudd's response to the crisis underlines why the behaviour of the govt before this week was so egregious, and why people calling this simple incompetence are mistaken 1/?
Rudd has pledged a dedicated unit to address Windrush cases, and waiving of fees to sort out paperwork. These are good, sensible simple steps. Which is the point. These good, sensible, simple steps are ones govt repeatedly refused to take at every earlier stage, despite warnings
It is important to remember that the Windrush crisis was an entirely predictable consequence of the "hostile environment" policies developed by May in 2012-16 (particularly immigration legislation in 2014 and 2016). 3/?
4/? These policies dramatically increased the range of situations where migrants required paperwork to prove their status. Preventing migrants without paperwork from working, renting, getting health care was *the explicit point of the policies*.
5/? The fact that there were tens of thousands of Windrush migrants without paperwork was an obvious, and well known, consequence of earlier stages of Britain's migration history and policy. Is simply not plausible to imagine no one at the Home Office knew such a group existed.
6/? Indeed, the recent article by @ameliagentleman on the destruction of the Windrush migrants' landing cards made this clear - the former senior imm bureaucrat she talked to made reference to similar cases arising well before hostile environment.
7/? In addition, various actors in the migration sector issued clear warning to the government that the hostile environment policies would generate difficulties for groups like the Windrush migrants and others - difficulties just like the ones that have hit recent headlines.
8/? So, to recap, the govt developed and introduced policies that would make life awful for people without detailed paperwork. They did so despite it being widely known that there were large groups in Britain who had full rights but would find it difficult to meet new reqments
9/? The potential problems groups like Windrush would face were widely known *at the time the policies were developed*. But no provisions were made to address them at that time. No task forces, no fee waivers, no attempts to contact them & make them aware. Nothing.
10/? *Even if* you believe govt, May, HO, did not know what would happen *then*, they surely knew as soon as these cases started to crop up in the immigration bureaucracy. That started happening as soon as "hostile environment" went into effect...
11/? Right from the outset there were Windrush migrants here for decades losing jobs, housing, healthcare. Anyone who had done an undergraduate course on migration history or migration law could see why. Were there task forces, fee waivers, fast tracking. Nope. Nowt. Nada.
12/? Fast forward to autumn this year when @ameliagentleman and others start publishing regular stories on this. The Commons chef sent to a deportation centre. The man here 45 years denied cancer treatment. The school worker thrown out of his job. And so on.
13/? At this point it became completely impossible for the HO and govt to deny they knew what was happening. Was there a task force, fee waivers, fast tracking, apologies? Nope, nowt, nada.
14/? Then we get a Daily Mail campaign, a petition with 150k plus signatures, and a delegation of Caribbean governments. *Even then* May and govt drag feet, offer half measures - just last weekend the PM was refusing to meet the Caribbean govts outraged by this.
So, no, this isn't some isolated, unfortunate screw up. It was an obvious, predictable and predicted consequence of the policy this govt introduced. They did nothing to prevent or limit this crisis, despite widespread knowledge of the problems that would arise.
16/? Then they did nothing to limit or address the crisis when the problems did start to arise, but were not high up the agenda. And continued to do nothing even as pressure mounted. At every stage, evasion, resistance, intransigence.
17/? This remains the case now. The root cause of this problem is the hostile environment policy, which is an engine for wrecking lives. It will wreck more - vulnerable EU migrants, children unable to secure status - until and unless it is fundamentally reformed.
So, no, Windrush is not incompetence. This govt & PM refused to acknowledge, let alone address, the impact of their policy on innocent people, and refused to put in place measures to protect those innocent people, until forced into a corner and left with no other option. /ends/
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