The UN special rapporteur on racism has criticized the UK for enforcing “hostile environment” immigration laws which plague the lives of immigrants and ethnic minorities in Britain.
Speaking at the end of her mission to the UK on Friday, Tendayi Achiume said such laws that “deputize immigration enforcement to private citizens and civil servants in a range of arenas” must be repealed.
“In a national context that is deeply polarized, it is no surprise that a policy that ostensibly seeks to target only irregular immigrants is destroying the lives and livelihoods of racial and ethnic minority communities more broadly, including many that have been instrumental to the prosperity of this nation for decades, and are rightful claimants of citizenship status,” Achiume said.
She also condemned the Right to Rent program, which requires landlords to conduct visa inspections, bank checks and National Health Service data transfers.
The program had “effectively transformed places like hospitals, banks, and private residences into border checkpoints,” she said following her 11-day stay in the UK.
She also pointed to the findings of the Lammy review, which indicated how minority groups are a disproportionate target “at every stage in the criminal justice process,” saying she was “shocked by the criminalization of young people from ethnic minorities, especially young black men.”
The Lammy Review is an independent review of the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals in the Criminal Justice System (CJS).
Achiume went on to say that Brexit had contributed to the creation of an environment of racial discrimination and intolerance.
“The environment leading up to the referendum, the environment during the referendum, and the environment after the referendum has made racial and ethnic minorities more vulnerable to racial discrimination and intolerance,” she said.
She said the people who she consulted underscored “the growth in volume and acceptability of xenophobic discourses on migration, and on foreign nationals including refugees in social and print media.”
Achiume will present her full report on her visit and its conclusions to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2019.