DO those who support the current government’s immigration policies ever stop to consider where inhospitable ends and inhumane begins?

“The aim is to create, here in Britain, a really hostile environment for illegal immigrants,” Theresa May said in 2012 when home secretary. According to Liberty, the human rights advocacy group, during Ms May’s six years in that office, she made 45,000 changes to the Immigration Rules, removing appeal rights, denying legal aid, and cutting asylum support, and presided over seven immigration bills.

The numbers of deportations of EU citizens has soared, as has the number of detentions.

Ms May’s proud boast of a “hostile environment” is applicable across the board, to anyone not born and bred in the UK: those who have lived an otherwise law abiding life but find themselves on the other side of the law; those who have fallen in love with someone from overseas and wish to marry them; anyone who was brought to Britain as a child but does not have the correct documentation now.

The baton was passed to Amber Rudd, forced to resign over the Windrush scandal, on to Sajid Javid, who, giving some hope, pledged an “immigration policy that is fair and treats people with respect and with decency,” before landing in the hands of Priti Patel, a woman who makes Theresa May look as though she was unfailingly welcoming.

This week the worst has happened and hundreds of asylum seekers in Glasgow are at risk of street homelessness in the winter weather after the Inner House of the Court of Session rejected an appeal by Govan Law Centre and upheld an earlier court verdict in favour of Serco.

The private housing provider may now evict tenants who have had their asylum claims rejected, even those who may be working on appeals against Home Office decisions to deport them.

Serco, in an attempt at a soft touch, has said it will ‘only’ evict 20 people a week, meaning the evictions will run for several months until their completion.

The options for those at risk of ending up on the streets are minimal: the charity Positive Action in Housing is looking to extend its Rooms for Refugees programme, which currently has space to house around 70 refugee individuals or families a night. Glasgow Night Shelter for destitute asylum seekers can take 20 men per night.

The city is already facing a homelessness crisis without the additional burden of providing accommodation for those made destitute by a cruelly punishing system that allows for the rights of vulnerable people to be breached.

Scottish housing law protects tenants from lock changes forcing immediate evictions but Scottish law has clashed here with UK immigration law.

The government has outsourced a public function to a private firm and the courts have upheld that private firms have no responsibility to work within human rights legislation.

Robina Qureshi, chief executive of Positive Action on Housing, described this as “a form of housing apartheid in Glasgow.”

“One section of our community have their housing and human rights upheld, yet another can be dragged from their homes and on to the streets without recourse to public funds, to work or any form of support.”

The ruling, she added, left private companies with “carte blanche” to treat asylum seekers as they see fit.

And of course - Serco is a business, a private business. It exists to generate income, not to bridge a gap when the state is clearly dodging its responsibilities.

That role has fallen to charities and pro bono law firms, and thanks be for the third sector or the situation would be so much worse.

Serco points out that it has been providing free accommodation and utilities over 18 months to people whose asylum claims have been rejected. The company’s chief operating officer, Julia Rogers, points out that “During this time Serco has been demonised and subject to extreme criticism.”

She laments that the firm has not been given credit for “the fact that we have spent millions of pounds supporting people who no longer have a right to remain in the UK and providing them with free accommodation, has been widely ignored.”

I’m sure Ms Rogers would understand that it would stick in the craw for a multi-national, private firm making marginalised people homeless to be praised.

But the private multi-national is doing exactly what private multi-nationals do - it is the government’s responsibility to rectify the situation, not that of Serco.

The asylum system fails refugees. There is a clear and obvious gap in the system that leaves people in a state of extreme vulnerability.

But the scapegoating of migrants and the victimisation of minorities is a clear and constant tactic under this Conservative government.

Priti Patel released a consultation document on the final day of parliament to “test the appetite” towards broadening the categories of criminal trespass to make it almost impossible - a hostile environment, even - for Gypsy Travellers to continue their way of life.

The Home Office, she says, will review trespassing laws to see how to make it a criminal offence in England and Wales for anyone to be on land “with the purpose of residing in their vehicle for any period, and to give the police the relevant powers to arrest offenders in situ and to seize any vehicles or other property on unauthorised encampments promptly.”

This is state persecution of a marginalised group, designed to appease a portion of the electorate intolerant towards Travellers, Gypsies and the Roma.

This is exactly the sort of government action that must be pushed back against, not least because it creates an environment in which targeting these groups becomes acceptable.

In Glasgow last week the Roma Rose Tree Memorial was desecrated. It had been unveiled in Queen’s Park by a group of young Roma people on Roma Holocaust Day, August 2, the date in 1944 when more than 4000 Roma people were murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

A gross violation against a backdrop of state hostility towards marginalised migrant groups. Urgent reform to the asylum system is needed, not least housing and financial support provided by the state, not lavish hospitality, just basic humanity.