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The evidence-free origins of the hostile environment

There is no concrete proof that the policy actually works. Only that it harms vulnerable men, women and children

By Colin Yeo  

Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

The “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants announced by Theresa May in an interview in 2012 is much more than merely nasty or unpleasant, although it certainly is those thingsIt takes a policy developed to address terrorism and serious crime and extends it to illegal immigration and, soon, to those EU citizens who miss the deadline to apply for settled status. Even after Windrush the hostile environment is not going away. But where did it come from?

The idea of a “hostile environment” can be traced back…

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