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    Labour's Manifesto Pledges to End the 'Hostile Environment' and Stop Deporting Family Members

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    The UK Labour Party has unveiled manifesto for the 2019 general election and its immigration policies reflect a radical departure from the status quo under the Conservatives as well as from the Labour Party itself.

    The British Labour Party has declared its commitment to abolishing the Immigration Act 2014, introduced under the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government, as well as end the "Hostile Environment", as part of its latest manifest published on 21 November 2019. Under the heading of "Migration" the manifesto says[pdf, pp70-71] Labour will commit to a "human" immigration system, and end the policies which, "caused the Windrush scandal of British citizens being deported".

    During the Labour Party conference in September, delegates unanimously voted for what some characterised as the most radical immigration policies in the history of the UK Labour movement. And while the manifesto has not fully adopted all of those policies, there is a clear departure from the rhetoric of 'clamping down' on immigrants that previous Labour Party leaders espoused.

    The manifesto says that "new victims" continue to be created by the Windrush scandal and promised to, "provide fair compensation to those who have unfairly suffered". The Party says they will, "will uphold the right to a family life for British, EU and non-EU residents alike", and end the deportation of family members of people who are entitled to be in the UK which includes an end to the splitting up of families based upon "minimum income requirements".

    It also pledges to tackle what the Labour Party calls the, "undercutting of wages and conditions", by further 'regulating' the labour market. It says, "Labour will ensure all workers have full and equal rights from day one, with a Real Living Wage for all". The document says that the focus will be to "level up rights" not "race to the bottom" with different categories of rights for people residing in the UK.

    A Softened Version From the Immigration Policies Voted at the Labour Party Conference

    Some noticeable differences between the manifesto and the immigration vote passed during Labour's party conference is the lack of mention of granting all UK residents the full right to vote, and a commitment to abolish all immigration detention centres. However, the document does commit to "end the current practice of "indefinite detention" and "review the alternatives to the inhumane conditions of detention centres" including the closing of Yarl’s Wood and Brook House. The savings gained from the closure of these two immigration centres, "would contribute towards a fund of £20 million to support the survivors of modern slavery, people trafficking and domestic violence".

    At Conference Labour delegates voted to "Maintain and extend free movement rights". But the manifesto says "freedom of movement "will be subject to negotiations" if the UK ends up leaving, though a Labour government would "seek to protect" the rights of EU citizens already in the UK as well as UK citizens living abroad.

    Finally, in a section entitled "Refugees" the document says that Labour will uphold the legal rights of "victims of wars, environmental catastrophes, famine or persecution". "Once here", it says, "refugees will have the right to work, access to public services and will be treated humanely by government at all levels".

    Tags:
    General Election, elections, UK Labour Party, refugees, immigration
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