Amber Rudd: Windrush generation treatment ‘appalling’


The expert in secretary has apologised for the treatment of the Windrush generation, saying it was «wrong» and «discomfiting» that some face deportation.

Many immigrants who arrived from the Commonwealth decades ago as juveniles have been told they are here illegally.

Amber Rudd bid they would be helped to attain required documents for free and amplified she was concerned her department «sometimes loses sight» of individuals.

Labour’s David Lammy remarked it was a «day of national shame».

The Tottenham MP said it was «inhumane and cruel» that it had captivated the government so long to act.

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Thousands of people arrived in the UK as kids in the first wave of Commonwealth immigration 70 years ago.

They are identified as the Windrush generation — a reference to the ship, the Empire Windrush, that unseated workers from the West Indies to Britain in 1948.

Under the 1971 Immigration Act, all Commonwealth villagers already living in the UK were given indefinite leave to remain.

Yet, the Home Office did not keep a record of those granted leave to stay or issue any paperwork confirming it, meaning it is difficult for the individuals to now prove they are in the UK legally.

Transformations to immigration law in 2012, which requires people to have documentation to manoeuvre, rent a property or access benefits, including healthcare, has highlighted the consummation and left people fearful about their status.

Michael Braithwaite, who emigrated to the UK from Barbados when he was nine, was let go from his 15-year job as a special needs drill assistant after his employers ruled he was an illegal immigrant.

He said: «I kill to pieces inside. I didn’t actually show it externally until I reviled home and I sat and I cried.

«My whole life sunk right down to my feet. I was frantic.»

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Home Secretary Ms Rudd back up new measures to the House of Commons to help the Windrush generation.

These cover:

  • A new taskforce dedicated to helping those affected
  • Plans to work with controls across government to gather evidence on behalf of immigrants — documentation for every year is customarily expected, such as bank statements or payslips
  • A pledge that all come what mays will be resolved in two weeks
  • All fees for new documentation waived so people are not «out of purloin» — normally £229
  • A new website will be set up with information and a direct contact dot

Ms Rudd also said she was «concerned that the Home Office has change too concerned with policy and strategy, and sometimes lose sight of the person», but it was why she decided to act.

‘Warm words are not enough’

When asked how many of the Windrush reproduction had been deported as a result of this issue, Ms Rudd said she was «not informed of any person being removed» and would have to speak to High Commissioners of many Commonwealth countries to find out.

Earlier, immigration minister Caroline Nokes was interrogated by ITV News if any people had been deported. She said: «There have been some horrendous cases, which as a minister have appalled me.»

Told by the reporter «that’s a yes», and inquired how many, she said: «No, I don’t know the numbers, but what I’m determined to do going out is we’ll have no more of this.»

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott denoted the government should consider compensation for anyone who had been wrongly deported.

A Adroit in Office spokeswoman said that any people who believe they or a dynasty member have been wrongly deported should get in contact so their receptacle can be reviewed.

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The prime upon reversed her decision not to meet Commonwealth leaders to discuss the issue after the strictly from Mr Lammy and MPs across the house. A meeting is now set for Tuesday.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said he welcomed Mrs May’s settlement to meet other leaders, but added: «She must now go further and make an triggered commitment to recognise and secure the rights of Commonwealth citizens.»


By Jonathan Blake, BBC public correspondent

When a home secretary describes her own department’s treatment of people as «frightening» and criticises it for «losing sight of the individual», it’s clear something has gone deeply wrong.

Amber Rudd’s admission in the House of Commons that she could not say whether any of the Windrush foreigners had been wrongly deported only made things worse.

More than one MP harked repudiate to the department’s previous leadership under Theresa May. Her intention to create a «belligerent environment» for illegal immigrants had led to what David Lammy called a «day of ignominy» for the government.

A steady stream of stories about mishandling of cases, a plenipotentiary appearing unsure about deportations and an apparent U-turn from Several 10 on a meeting with Caribbean leaders have all fuelled valuation of the government.

The secretary of state promised to sort things out, a special work force would handle cases «sensitively» and apologies were postulated all round.

The Migration Observatory at Oxford University estimates there are 500,000 individual resident in the UK who were born in a Commonwealth country and arrived before 1971.

In the flesh born in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries are thought to be more touched than those from other Commonwealth nations, as they were sundry likely to arrive on their parents’ passports without their own ID papers.

Many have never applied for a passport in their own name or had their immigration prominence formalised, as they regarded themselves as British.

The Guardian newspaper has highlighted a number of situations of such people being threatened with deportation.

Are you a member or progeny of the Windrush Generation — or did you arrive in the UK from another Commonwealth country as a ward between 1948-1971? We’d like to hear from you via email

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