Stand up for free movement and migrants' rights

Posted on 24-06-20 by Anastazja Oppenheim Number of votes: 40 | Number of comments: 49

At Labour conference 2019, party members, unions and affiliates voted near-unanimously to approve the policy motion drafted by the Labour Campaign for Free Movement and submitted by a number of CLPs.

The motion declares that Labour's manifesto should pledge to maintain and extend free movement, and to advance migrants' rights by closing all detention centres, extending equal voting rights to all UK residents, scrapping all Hostile Environment measures, ending the denial of equal social security and healthcare to migrants, and more.

To live up to our aspiration to be a democratic, socialist and anti-racist party, Labour must commit wholeheartedly to it.

Since the election, the Tories have already attacked migrants, from breaking an earlier promise to defend the right to family reunion for child refugees to bringing back the Immigration Bill. Labour needs to vigorously oppose this.

We should campaign energetically for our conference policy in full. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has made measures such as ending immigration detention, scrapping No Recourse to Public Funds, and ensuring universal free NHS access even more urgent.

We must also include the full policy in our next manifesto, and if the Tories succeed in ending free movement with the EEA before the next election, we should pledge to restore and extend it.

The motion is copied in full here:

"Free movement, equality and rights for migrants, are socialist values and benefit us all.

"Confronted with attacks on migrants – from the racist Hostile Environment to the Conservatives' Immigration Bill that plans to end free movement and strip the rights of working-class migrants – we stand for solidarity, equality and freedom.

"Scapegoating, ending free movement and attacking migrants' rights are attacks on all workers. They make migrant workers more precarious and vulnerable to hyper exploitation, pressing down wages and conditions for everyone. They divide us, making it harder to unionise and push back.

"Labour offers real solutions to fix the problems which are unfairly and incorrectly blamed on migrants themselves: public funding for good jobs; homes, services and social security for everyone; scrapping anti-union laws to support workers organising for improved conditions and wages. Migrant workers are already central to trade union campaigns beating low pay and exploitation, in spite of prevailing attitudes and Tory legislation.

"Labour will include in the manifesto pledges to:

-Oppose the current Tory immigration legislation and any curbing of rights.
Campaign for free movement, equality and rights for migrants.

-Reject any immigration system based on incomes, migrants' utility to business, and number caps/targets.
-Close all detention centres.
-Ensure unconditional right to family reunion.
-Maintain and extend free movement rights.
-End "no recourse to public funds" policies.
-Scrap all Hostile Environment measures, use of landlords and public service providers as border guards, and restrictions on migrants' NHS access.
-Actively challenge anti-immigrant narratives.
-Extend equal rights to vote to all UK residents"

Referring to: Justice and Home Affairs

The Justice and Home Affairs Policy Commission examines Labour thinking on issues such as policing, the justice system, immigration and asylum, political and constitutional reform and Brexit.

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