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Parliamentary Report Assesses Home Office Immigration Policies

A new report from cross-party parliamentary group the Public Accounts Committee has assessed the Home Office’s immigration policies, arguing that they are based on ‘anecdote, assumption and prejudice’.

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A new report from the Public Accounts Committee- a cross-party parliamentary group- has found the Home Office’s UK immigration policies to be based on ‘anecdote, assumption and prejudice’. 

The report states that Priti Patel’s Home Office has ‘no idea’ about the actual impact its immigration policies have on people’s lives, and that it displays ‘very little concern’ over the harm inflicted upon immigrant populations in the UK.

Meg Hillier, the chair of the committee, denounced the Home Office for showing little desire to change its ways following the Windrush Scandal, before stating that the evidence they saw ‘inspires no confidence’ that a similar-style calamity isn’t just around the corner.

Hillier said:

‘The Home Office has frighteningly little grasp of the impact of its activities in managing immigration. It shows no inclination to learn from its numerous mistakes across a swathe of immigration activities – even when it fully accepts that it has made serious errors.’

home office

The report states that the Home Office has ‘no idea’ how many undocumented migrants are currently residing in the UK. [Image: Relocate Magazine]

According to the report, the Home Office’s failure to compile accurate data means that the department has ‘no idea’ how many undocumented migrants are currently residing in the UK. Records state that the last time the Home Office actually attempted to calculate this figure was in 2005.

Further to this, the department ‘does not know’ whether the controversial ‘hostile environment’ approach succeeds in its intended purpose of discouraging ‘illegal immigrants’ from entering the country.

The Hostile Environment was introduced in 2012 during Theresa May’s tenure as Home Secretary as part of a clampdown on irregular migration. It has subsequently come under intense criticism for the uncompromising and unjust nature of its policies, which include allowing landlords to conduct immigration checks before deciding whether or not to let a property to a prospective tenant.

A Home Office spokesperson has stated that whilst Home Secretary Priti Patel accepts much of the criticisms made in the report, the majority of it is related to ‘historical issues’ within the department:

‘The Home Secretary agrees with the assessment made by the public accounts committee of historical issues at the Home Office. She has spoken at great length how the department puts process before people and is why she has committed to implementing the findings of the Wendy Williams Review into Windrush.’

uk parliament

The report was released by the Public Accounts Committee, a cross-party parliamentary group responsible for overseeing public expenditures. [Image: Unsplash]

Immigration detainees

The report holds that almost two-thirds (62 percent) of UK immigration detainees in 2019 were released without being deported back to their home countries as originally planned, an increase on the 2018 figure of 58 percent. The Home Office is reportedly unaware of why the figure is so high.

A major lack of diversity within Home Office senior roles coupled with an insufficient evidence base for immigration policies has resulted in ‘blind spots’, the committee state, before pointing to the Windrush Scandal as evidence of the type of issues created by the situation.

Lack of diversity within the Executive Committee

Just one member of the Home Office Executive Committee is from a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background.

‘The department acknowledges how close it came to being declared institutionally racist in the Windrush ‘lessons learned’ review and that it has to change its culture.

It recognises the value of greater diversity for enabling better decision-making, leadership and governance, though only one member of the department’s current executive committee comes from a BAME background.’

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