Our communities, our public spaces, our public services and our workplaces should be places open to us all, where no one fears discrimination or persecution. Our sense of belonging should never be based on the colour of our skin. And the ability of a doctor to save lives or a police officer to keep us safe should never be put at risk or made to depend on whether the person in front of them can show their paperwork.

But the Hostile Environment builds a border through our hospitals, our schools, our police stations and our communities. Doctors, landlords, police officers and teachers have been tasked with verifying immigration status and often people who look or sound ‘foreign’ are asked to show their papers in order to see a doctor or go to school. Those who are suspected of being undocumented are made homeless because landlords are afraid to rent to them. They are left to die because doctors are unable to treat them. And they are left vulnerable to exploitation because they cannot open or access their bank accounts.

These policies don’t just affect newcomers – even those who have lived here for years are targeted based on their skin colour, as the Windrush scandal tragically demonstrated.

When Britain is at its best, we are so much better than this. We can and must end the Hostile Environment so that discrimination is effectively challenged and communities can unite, build bridges and prosper.

"It is my view that the [Right to Rent scheme] does not merely provide the occasion or opportunity for private landlords to discriminate but causes them to do so where otherwise they would not."

Mr Justice Spencer, High Court judge in the Right to Rent case
R(Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department
[2019] EWHC 452 (Admin)

Our recommendations

  • Dismantle the Hostile Environment in its entirety in order to prevent harassment or mistreatment based on ethnicity or nationality
  • Repeal the Right to Rent scheme, which was found by the High Court to cause racial discrimination in the housing market
  • Roll back the NHS Charging regime, which was found by the BMA to make it harder for doctors and nurses to do their jobs
  • End restrictions on working, opening bank accounts and obtaining driving licenses, which render people vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking

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