Minister apologises to ‘Windrush generation’ over deportation fears
HOME SECRETARY Amber Rudd has offered an apology in the Commons to members of the socalled Windrush generation who have been subjected to what she described as “appalling” treatment by the Government.
Ms Rudd announced the creation of a new taskforce in the Home Office to speed up the regularisation of the immigration status of people who arrived in the UK as long ago as the 1940s.
Her announcement came after Downing Street said Prime Minister Theresa May wanted to ensure that “no one with the right to be here will be made to leave”.
And Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said he was “deeply concerned” at challenges to the immigration status of people who were “longstanding pillars of our community”.
Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes appeared to suggest that some individuals may already have been deported in error.
But Ms Rudd told the House of Commons she was not aware of “any specific cases” and would raise the matter with high commissioners at a meeting this week.
Mrs May is to meet her counterparts from Caribbean states in the margins of the Commonwealth summit in London today amid growing anger about individuals facing the threat of deportation and being denied access to healthcare due to UK paperwork issues.
THE FOUNDER of the Leeds West Indian Carnival says he is “very bitter” about the problems faced by long-term British residents from the Windrush generation over their immigration status.
Arthur France spoke amid growing anger about individuals facing the threat of deportation and being denied access to healthcare due to UK paperwork issues and anomalies affecting some immigrants who arrived between the 1940s and early 1970s.
The 80-year-old, who came from the Caribbean island of Nevis in 1957 to live with his sister in Leeds, said he would not be affected by the problems experienced by those who do not have paperwork to prove they are in the UK legally.
But he told The Yorkshire Post: “I suppose some might gave been complacent and didn’t realise they would have to get paperwork, they thought everything would be all right.
“The Government needs to take this into consideration. It won’t affect me, but I am not thinking of myself.
“We have families that feel very bitter about it. One friend came to me and said he has a cousin who is facing the same problem. I can’t be all right when my brother is suffering. We are all in the same boat.
“Whoever came up with this decision I don’t think they have an ounce of humanity in them. This kind of thing could make any fair-minded person very angry and against the establishment. I am very bitter about it.”
Thousands of people arrived in the UK as children in the first wave of Commonwealth immigration 70 years ago.
They are known as the Windrush generation – a reference to the ship the Empire Windrush, which brought workers from the West Indies to Britain in 1948.
Under the 1971 Immigration Act, all Commonwealth citizens already living in the UK were given indefinite leave to remain – but the right to free movement between Commonwealth nations was ended from that date onwards.
However, the Home Office did not keep a record of those granted leave to remain or issue any paperwork confirming it, meaning it is difficult for the individuals to now prove they are in the UK legally.
AMBER RUDD: Home Secretary to discuss issues with high commissioners this week.
CONTROVERSY: The Windrush generation began arriving in the UK in 1948; 70 years later some could face deportation.