UK Politics

National shame for government over deportations of people here legally

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The government was accused of presiding over a national day of shame as it emerged some British people may have been deported by mistake.

MPs held an emergency debate on the Windrush Crisis today, which has seen people who came to the UK legally as children losing their jobs, being denied NHS treatment and potentially even being sent back to the Caribbean.

Amber Rudd apologised for the appalling way in which some had been treated. She said she wasnt aware of any specific cases where people had been deported but urged people to contact her if they knew of any.

Immigrants from the Caribbean were invited to come to Britain with their families to help rebuild the country after WWII, but many dont have documentation as bureaucracy was less rigid at the time.

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They are here totally legitimately, but have suffered consequences because they cant prove it.

My parents came here as citizens, now the #windrush generation are suffering inhumane treatment at the hands of the Home Office.

If you lay down with dogs, you get fleas!

This is a day of national shame: the PM and Home Sec must apologise! pic.twitter.com/gxqoSErU3o

— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) April 16, 2018

Tottenham MP David Lammy, whose own parents came from Guyana, was praised for a passionate speech in the Commons today.

He said: It is inhumane and cruel for so many of that Windrush Generation to have suffered so long in this condition, and for the Secretary of State to only make a statement today.

Can she explain how many have been deported? Its her department – she should know the number.

Can she tell the house how many have been detained as prisoners in their own country?

How many have been denied health under the NHS? How many have been denied their pensions? How many have lost their jobs?

This is a day of national shame.

'National shame' for government over 'deportations' of people here legally
David Lammy said their treatment is inhumane and cruel (Picture: BBC)

He accused the government of pandering to far-right rhetoric on immigration leading to awful human consequences, saying: When you lie down with dogs, you get fleas.

Ms Rudd told MPs she was concerned that the Home Office had become too concerned with policy and strategy, and sometimes loses sight of the individual.

This is about individuals, and we have seen the individual stories, and they have been, some of them, terrible to hear, and that is why I have acted.

She added: I am not aware of any specific cases of a person being removed in these circumstances.

That is why I have asked the high commissioners if they know of any, that they should bring it to me.

And I would ask anybody here if they know of any such circumstances, they should bring them to the Home Office.

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She earlier apologised for the way the Windrush generation had been treated, telling MPs during Home Office questions: Frankly, some of the ways they have been treated has been wrong, has been appalling and I am sorry.

Who are the Windrush Generation?

22nd June 1948: The ex-troopship 'Empire Windrush' arriving at Tilbury Docks from Jamaica, with 482 Jamaicans on board, emigrating to Britain. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
The Empire Windrush arriving at Tilbury Docks from Jamaica with 482 Jamaicans on board, in 1948 (Picture: Getty)

The Windrush Generation has been described as the people who arrived in the UK from the Caribbean between 1948 and 1971.

It garnered its name from the ship MV Empire Windrush which was the first to carry workers over from Jamaica in 1948.

People were moving over from the Caribbean after a call from the UK for more workers in industries such as agriculture and mining – in short, they were invited to help the country which was struggling after WWII.

The Windrush Generation ends at 1971 as that is when the Immigration Act came in.

The immigration before this was poorly documented and the Home Office did not keep accurate records or issue paperwork to those with the right to remain in the UK.

This has not been a problem for years, but those without documents are now being told that they are necessary if they want to work, use public services or just live in the UK.

We explain more here.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the Government must consider the question of compensation and said: We have to acknowledge when the Commonwealth heads of governments are gathered in London, what a disgrace it is that this Government has treated Commonwealth migrants in this way.

Ms Rudd said there would be no removals or detentions: In accordance with my wishes today, there will be no removals or detention as part of any assistance to help former Commonwealth citizens get their proper documentation in place.

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