THE time for Scotland to manage her own immigration policies is long overdue.

Never has this been more obvious than this week, as we watched the UK Government fail once again to take responsibility for their own inherently racist and broken immigration system. And not for the first time, has Westminster employed a policy that goes against the best interests of Scotland. It is overwhelmingly in the best interests of Scotland that we welcome the talents of migrant workers to boost our working age population and contribute to the economy.

READ MORE: May ‘blocked request' from ministers for more overseas doctors in NHS

The rotten nature of Theresa May’s “hostile environment” policy has been exposed but now it’s a wait and see game. As much as I applaud the appointment of the first BAME Home Secretary, I watched Javid’s speech in Parliament on Monday pledging to do right by the Windrush generation and wondered just how far he’s willing to go to “disown” the PM’s draconian immigration stance. He referenced his own family background and his deeper feelings on the injustices these people have suffered, but somehow ‘a hae ma doots. Without action, without dramatic change, it all means nothing. This is the man after all, who has consistently voted to make the asylum system stricter – toeing the line with May’s orders.

But there’s a bigger problem here. It’s not just a hostile environment, it’s a hostile ethos, across Tory Government policy. Hostile to people whose skin colour or accent doesn’t “fit”, hostile to people badly in need of benefits to make ends meet, hostile to women who’ve been raped or deign to have more than two children, and hostile to disabled people who can’t work.

READ MORE: Olya Merry speaks of her 'hell' as Home Office admits it tried to split up Scottish family by 'mistake'

These people are “illegal immigrants” to them, not human beings with lives, families, worries, joys, hopes and dreams. They see people on benefits as scroungers, chancers to be caught out and punished when in reality, those working the system are few and far between, while those forced to turn to foodbanks are on the rise to a staggering degree. Working folk too, who can’t make it to the end of the month without a food parcel or increasing their debt, single mothers juggling child care costs and several jobs, victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, people who are too sick to go to an office and work an 8-hour day. All these people are regarded as leeching off the state, a burden, a drain on the economy. Whatever happened to human empathy?

This aggressive and xenophobic attitude has infected our lives, exacerbated by much of the mainstream media, with help from the shadows by the likes of Paul Dacre and Rupert Murdoch, by the double-standards of soon to be EU Pensioner, Nigel Farage, and by Jacob Rees-Mogg, with a drawer full of monocles but a heart empty of compassion.

The resulting media frenzy from Amber Rudd’s resignation on Sunday highlighted how our language has changed from sympathetic to human suffering, to harsh and unfeeling. I was struck by the kind of terms being bandied about in television discussions for instance, such as “swarms of illegal immigrants” or the rather Americanised version, “illegals”. Indeed, more compassionate terms were employed to describe Rudd’s departure, with one BBC presenter going so far as to say it was “a devastating personal tragedy” for the former Home Secretary.

Now, much as I wish Amber Rudd the very best for her future career in politics, she is not the real victim here. It’s these so-called “illegal immigrants” I’m worried about – the grandparents separated from their grandchildren, the fathers unable to attend their daughter’s weddings, sons unable to bury their parents; young people trafficked into this country to be sold as sex slaves with no papers to their name or refugees fleeing untold horrors at home, living in terror of being sent back to war and certain death. Where is the evidence of a humane and considerate approach to these vulnerable people? This antagonistic “them and us” attitude extends across to the major political issue of the day, to Brexit dissenters. Just look at the angry rhetoric fired at the Scottish Parliament for having the audacity to want to keep our devolved parliament intact, or the bile spewed towards the Irish for refusing to contemplate a hard border as a result of their neighbour’s kamikaze desire to crash out of the EU.

If your face doesn’t fit then beware, if you don’t follow the high command – beware, if you question Westminster’s writ – beware.

That’s why I support my party and my former colleague, Joanna Cherry MP QC’s call for a root and branch change to the UK Government’s immigration policy. We need to raise their flawed and callous current system to the ground and start again. And once we’ve done that, we need the power to devise our own humane immigration policy, one that welcomes new Scots to our country not demonises, one that values their contribution to our society and our culture, an inclusive system based on equality and dignity tailored to Scotland’s unique needs. Hostility and paranoia has no place in the future of Scotland.

Or, as Maya Angelou aptly said, “I note the obvious differences between each sort and type, but we are more alike my friends, than we are unalike.”