Home Office official says its part of ‘my job’ to ‘piss people off’ and create ‘challenging environment’
Categories: Latest News
Saturday May 05 2018
Undercover footage, obtained by the Guardian, shows a Home Official claiming that the department’s “challenging environment” was necessary and that the official’s job was to ‘piss people off’.
The man who was recording the Home Office official had previously served a prison sentence and the Home Office had signed a deportation order. The order did not remove him from the country however did require him to report weekly to a Home Office reporting centre and was not allowed to work, rent accommodation or access NHS services.
In the video the man can be heard saying: “I’d rather be in prison than come here weekly signing on and all this”.
To which the official replies: “Yeah, but what you’ve got to understand is – I’m going to talk to you on a level, yeah? You take the piss out of the system, the system is going to take the piss out of you…we’re not here to make life easy for you”.
The official adds: “It’s a challenging environment that we’ve got to make for people. It’s working because it’s pissing you off. Am I right? There you go. That’s my aim at the end of the day…I’ve done my job”.
The man has since departed to Pakistan voluntarily, dismayed by the hostile environment of the UK. He suffered from mental health issues which lead to self-harm, and was previously given a 13-month prison sentence for criminal damage and blackmail. Whilst he has been in the UK for more than 21 years (since the age of 18, prior to which he lived in the US and Saudi Arabia) and held indefinite leave to remain, he had not naturalised as a British citizen. He would not have faced deportation if he had naturalised.
His parents and three brothers are all British citizens and he has only been to Pakistan previously for one month.
His lawyer, Mr Fahad Ansari, said: “The challenging environment mentioned by the immigration officer appears to be a reference to Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ policy. The rationale behind this policy is to create an environment so utterly soul destroying to live in that people will voluntarily leave the UK”.
A spokesman from the Home Office responded to the video by stating: “We are investigating the footage provided. The views expressed in this video do not represent Home Office policy. Any staff found to have breached the civil service code of conduct will face appropriate action”.
He added: “Foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes in the UK should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them”.
The controversy comes at a time when many people are accusing the Home Office of executing racist policies in light of the department’s deportation of the Windrush generation and apparent error in threatening thousands of foreign students with deportation.
It is clear that the Government must take concrete steps to ensure that Governmental departments are not exhibiting structural racism, as recently accused by the UN, and must go simply beyond words and promises. The new Home Secretary, Mr Sajid Javid, has said the term “hostile environment” is “incorrect” and that it is “unhelpful and does not represent the values as a country”.
Indeed, the recent concerns surrounding Windrush and the Home Office’s “hostile environment” to date, highlight the need to scrutinise policies which stigmatize, marginalise and discriminate vulnerable minorities. In this effort, it is imperative that the Government commits to honestly tackling inadequate policies that leave space for structural and institutional racism in all its forms.