After the Windrush scandal: are other groups a target?

The current “Windrush” scandal — where the Home Office has accused a number of long-settled individuals of being “illegal immigrants” — has thrown into relief the many consequences of the government’s “hostile environment” (pdf) policies. Taking a longer historical view, however, illuminates another stark warning: the possible repercussions when governments undertake major shifts in immigration enforcement without sufficiently considering expectations that were in place when previous immigrant groups arrived. This is an essential warning to heed as the government attempts to deal with the post-Brexit status of millions of EU immigrants.

To see just how profoundly expectations about internal control have changed in the UK, it is worth looking further back than the beginnings of today’s “hostile environment.” Our recent article in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies uses archival evidence to examine how the Home Office approached immigrant documentation in the late 1960s — when many of the immigrants decades later suspected as “illegal” first arrived.

Read the full article on this link to History and Policy

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