Diane Abbott has branded the Windrush scandal a “direct consequence of government policy”, revealing Labour’s plan to overhaul Britain’s immigration system.
The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington vowed to end Theresa May’s “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants, saying: “The next Labour Government will repeal all those parts of the immigration legislation that were introduced to support [this policy].
“We will rescind all Home Office instructions to carry it out, and we will remove all obligations on landlords, employers and others to enact it.”
Speaking yesterday to an IPPR think tank in Westminster, Abbott said: “If Labour under Jeremy Corbyn cannot begin the process of re-framing the debate on migration then I think Jeremy would feel he had failed.”
Under current rules, landlords, employers and banks must make status checks before agreeing to provide services to migrants.
This, along with deportation targets, and the minimum income requirements migrants must meet before bringing their spouses and children to join them in the UK, will be scrapped if Labour come to power.
— IPPR (@IPPR) 16 May 2018
The shadow Home Secretary also vowed to close Yarl’s Wood and Brook House immigration detention centres, putting the £20m a year saved towards supporting the survivors of modern slavery, trafficking and domestic abuse.
Detention in remaining centres would be limited to 28 days, and private firms would be banned from running other such facilities.
Abbott said: “This Government and its predecessors have long had an obsession with enriching the private sector from the public purse. This is despite the costs, either financially, in shoddy service or in human misery.
“Labour will end this rotten system. Private firms have no business in detention.”
Abbott later vowed to end the “scandalous practice” of making migrant’s children born in Britain pay for citizenship.
“Children who have been born here should not have to pay over £1,000 to obtain legal citizenship, simply because their parents were not born in this country. It is theirs as a right, just like it is my right and the right of most people in this room today.”
Abbott’s comments follow an admission from Home Secretary Sajid Javid that 63 Windrush migrants may have been wrongfully deported.
Speaking on Tuesday, Javid also said he did not know if any had been wrongfully detained.
Abbott addressed Javid in her speech to the IPPR, saying: “Sajid Javid made a promise to make things right for the people who have been treated so appalling by his Government.
“He should start by restoring full rights of citizenship for all Commonwealth citizens, which his party removed and which has contributed to the tragedies that have fallen on the Windrush generation.”