The past few months have seen a sleeping nation slowly waking up to the fact that the rhetoric surrounding immigration can result in damaging consequences.
At the height of the coverage of the Windrush Scandal, a lot of attention has been drawn to the official policy of the Home Office to create a “hostile environment” around immigrants. This included vans being driven around the streets of the nation adorned with the memorable slogan “GO HOME OR FACE ARREST”. Other tactics involved turning landlords into quasi immigration officers through legislation requiring them to check the immigration status of prospective tenants or face hefty fines or even imprisonment. Now even people from the Caribbean with a legitimate right to be in this country have been wrongly treated as illegal immigrants, and as a consequence have suffered tremendously.
Years before the Windrush Scandal made national news, I’d heard of stories about relatives from my native Nigeria being denied visitors’ visas to come to the UK to spend time with family. These stories, together with my own personal experiences, have made me wonder recently whether there’s been a hostile policy targeting certain Commonwealth citizens who simply want to visit the UK. And I’m not talking about the Aussies or the Kiwis.