Creating an anti-racist city that isn’t a tool of immigration enforcement

Today I’m vowing to create an anti-racist city and not to collaborate with immigration enforcement from City Hall. This is part of a wider push to end all racist hostile environment policies in London.

The hostile environment policies from the Government horrify me and, if elected in May, services under my remit, including homelessness services, would not share any data of migrant service users with the Home Office for any purposes of immigration enforcement.

From 1 December last year, new immigration rules have come into effect, which state that permission to stay in the UK could be withheld or revoked from rough sleepers found to be migrants, with deportation a possible consequence.

The majority of migrant rough sleepers are to be found in London – with approximately half of the city’s estimated 10,000 annual rough sleepers believed to be non-UK nationals. I have challenged previous enforcement measures against migrants who are rough sleeping in my work on the London Assembly.

As Mayor, I will campaign to end immigration enforcement measures in other services, such as education, healthcare and discriminatory ‘Right to Rent’ policies aimed at turning landlords into immigration officers and denying people their right to a home.

Hostile environment policies have tried to turn all of us into immigration officers, and forced public servants, homeless outreach workers and landlords to hand over private data on our fellow citizens, but I can’t accept becoming a tool of any racist Home Office agenda if I am elected.

London is a proudly diverse and welcoming city for all people, and I will call out and stand against racist policies wherever I find them.”

My colleague, Green Party Assembly member candidate Benali Hamdache has also made the same pledges. He says:

“As a person of colour living in London, I see two sides to this city. One which is open, inclusive and one of the most proudly diverse cities on earth. But there’s also bigotry, institutional racism, and discriminatory policing.

“Greens have always led the way in standing up for refugee and migrant rights. We’ll keep fighting this Government’s racist policies which divide our capital”

This pledge will be part of our upcoming manifesto as Green Party candidates for Mayor of London and Assembly, including:

The 130,000 young people who are currently without documentation in London, through no fault of their own, will see a dedicated action plan from a Green Mayor, aimed at regularising all our young citizens and helping families with the cost of applications. We will continue to press the Government to give young Londoners with insecure immigration status immediate regularisation and faster routes to citizenship.

The treatment of our Windrush elders is a disgrace that still continues. Too many Londoners still await compensation and legal clarity. A Green Mayor will champion their cause and fight the government policies causing hardship.

Greens will reaffirm and highlight the contribution that refugees, asylum seekers and those who move here to work make to London and do more to ensure people are able to be fully included in their local community and economy.

We demand an immediate halt of all forced deportation flights. No such flights should be happening from London’s airports. Sian as Mayor will use her platform to challenge the legality and morality of these deportation flights.

Greens have been successful in pushing for recruitment to City Hall, Transport for London, and London Fire Brigade jobs to be anonymous at the shortlisting stage to avoid race and gender bias. Anonymised applications are an important step in levelling the playing field for candidates of all backgrounds.

From 2021 we will work to extend this policy to contractors and into the Mayor’s Good Work Standard for employers.

We will expand the categories of ethnicity data used for monitoring and policy development to highlight communities that are not originally recognised for example the Latino community and Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.

We will put the Prevent programme in London under permanent review, make sure it focuses appropriate levels of resource on right-wing extremism and work to stop the conflation of legitimate activities such as campaigning against racism and peaceful protest with violent extremism.

We will hold regular forums with groups and communities to discuss problems with Prevent and help find better ways to develop a positive counter-narrative. Meanwhile, we will campaign against Prevent as a national strategy.

A Green Mayor will improve the lives of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers in London and promote their right to equal treatment at a strategic level. We will carry out a strategic review with boroughs to identify the need across London for suitable land for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller sites. We will work with boroughs to implement a negotiated stopping approach in London and oppose Government plans to increase enforcement powers and criminalise trespass, and support a London-wide standard for site management and tenants’ rights.

We will work to stop all reporting by police of victims of crime to the Home Office, given the implications for confidence in reporting crime and the potential for exploitation that this data sharing creates.

We will roll back stop and search and stop the use of section 60 powers that allow for suspicionless stop and search except in emergency situations, authorised by the most senior officers. We have learned in the past that these tactics can be seriously counterproductive, and the creation of new policies and processes of engagement with communities when there is a risk of violence will be a key part of our review of policing principles.