FROM January 1st banks and building societies will be legally obliged to check the current accounts of 76 million account holders and compare them with a government database of people deemed by the Tories to be ‘illegal immigrants’.
Any matches must then be reported to the Home Office who will instruct the banks to close these accounts or freeze them.
The entire process of scrutiny will take place every three months and the banks or building societies will face fines or sanctions if they fail to carry out the checks demanded by the Tories under the Immigration Act of 2016, itself an amendment to an earlier act of 2014.
This move has been criticised by immigration welfare campaigners on the grounds that the Home Office has a long record of mistakes and simply can’t be trusted to get anything right and that migrant workers with every legal right to be in Britain would be affected by mistakes and find their bank accounts closed.
While valid, these objections miss the main point – this implementation of the Immigration Act in respect of banking is just another front in the ongoing, racist attack by the Tories on immigrant workers.
It represents yet another move in the direction of transforming every public service into nothing more than a part of the border control system, acting as agents of social control policing every foreign-born worker and their families and reporting them back to the state.
The 2014 Immigration Act was introduced by the then Tory Home Secretary, Theresa May, who boasted that she would ‘create a really hostile environment’ for migrants in Britain.
Alongside this attack was the Tory policy of ‘deport first, appeal later’ for the thousands of people facing forced removal from Britain, many of them condemned to return to countries where they faced torture or execution.
In effect, the Tories intended to introduce a system whereby every person in the country had to be subjected to identity checks whether or not they were British citizens or people with permanent residence.
These checks would be carried out by teachers, nurses, doctors, banks, private landlords, in short any organisation or public service a person might come into contact with.
In April this year, the medical charity Doctors of the World launched a campaign against government diktats that ‘makes border guards of doctors’ by allowing the Home Office to access details of undocumented migrants seeking NHS treatment.
Many doctors and NHS workers are simply refusing to comply with the law, refusing to be turned into agents for the racist policies of the Tories.
Similarly the National Union of Teachers passed a motion at its 2017 conference condemning the Department for Education’s instruction that parents must supply details of pupils’ nationality and country of birth to schools which would then be passed on to the Home Office.
Millions of workers in Britain experience every day the fact that May’s ‘really hostile climate’ is not confined to the tiny number of immigrant workers deemed illegal.
The Tories have attempted to impose a complete reign of terror over the entire working class, driving through the most savage austerity cuts aimed at inflicting not just poverty but complete destitution on workers and their families.
For the Tories and the ruling class that they serve, racism has only one aim – to try and split the working class along racist lines to try and hold back the tide of socialist revolution.
The enemy of all workers is not migrant workers but this Tory government and a bankrupt capitalist system that can no longer provide even the basic essentials of life.
Workers and the unions must fight all attempts to split the working class with reactionary racist policies and insist that just as the filthy rich oligarchs and bankers are free to travel the world in search of profit so workers have the right to go to any country in search of work.
Above all, workers must unite to demand the unions bring down this Tory government through a general strike and go forward to a workers government and a socialist society that will open its doors to all workers from across the world.