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International Migrants Day: Our fight for dignity and compassion goes on

December 18, 2020 2:30 PM
By Liberal Democrats
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

On International Migrants Day and every day, we should celebrate the enormous contributions that people from all over the world make to the UK's culture, economy and communities.

The UK's immigration system is broken, and it's hurting everyone.

Sadly, though, the UK's immigration system is broken, and it is hurting everyone.

Employers can't recruit the workers they need, leaving the NHS short of nurses and social care in crisis. People without documents are denied access to healthcare and housing.

Far too many people are detained indefinitely, in inhumane conditions and at great expense. Families are separated by unfair, complex visa requirements.

Public confidence in the system has been shattered.

Decades of hostile policies and rhetoric have created a system that no one trusts, and that fails to respect people's dignity.

Liberal Democrats will never stop fighting for a fair, compassionate immigration system that treats everyone with dignity and respect.

The Home Office is not fit for purpose. The Conservatives' Hostile Environment turns teachers, doctors, police officers and landlords into border guards. It led members of the Windrush Generation to be denied their rights, detained and even deported.

And now, the Conservatives are making all this much worse by ending free movement with the EU.

But the Liberal Democrats will never stop fighting for a fair, compassionate immigration system that works for the UK and treats everyone with dignity and respect.

We're working cross-party to end indefinite detention once and for all. We even passed amendments to the Immigration Bill in the House of Lords that would have done that, only for Conservative MPs to overturn them last month.

We've put forward a new law to give our wonderful NHS and care staff from other countries the right to stay in the UK. Because the idea that anyone who has worked so hard to save lives during this pandemic might one day be forced to leave should be unthinkable.

We're calling on the Government to scrap the Hostile Environment altogether.

We're trying to hold Boris Johnson to his promise that EU citizens would automatically be guaranteed the right to stay - a promise he has repeatedly broken. Under the Home Office's current system, thousands will be left effectively undocumented and exposed to the Hostile Environment - at risk of eviction, detention and even deportation.

And we're calling on the Government to scrap the Hostile Environment altogether. The Windrush Scandal should have been the end of the Hostile Environment, but despite their apologies the Conservatives have kept their cruel, discriminatory policies in force.

With these changes and more, we can build a country where every person has their dignity respected and UK employers will be able to recruit the workers they need. Where those who choose to come to the UK to work, study or join their families will be welcomed for the skills and contributions that they bring.

A country where family unity is protected; the rule of law is respected; and we ensure fairness for taxpayers. And where everyone can have confidence that the immigration system is functioning as it should.