Thursday, 19 April, 2018

Downing Street rejects request to discuss Windrush generation's immigration problems

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Image Commonwealth leaders are meeting in London this week
Patty Aguilar | 16 April, 2018, 21:31

The Government's "hostile environment" immigration policy means that some British residents, who have lived legally in the United Kingdom for decades, are now facing requests for official documentation for the first time.

The Shadow Attorney General Baroness Chakrabarti has urged the government take action after the "unacceptable" treatment of the "Windrush generation".

Prime Minister Theresa May is now to discuss the situation with other Commonwealth leaders.

The communities and local government minister Sajid Javid said he was "deeply concerned" by the issues and the government is looking into solutions.

Immigration minister Caroline Nokes appeared to suggest that some individuals may already have been deported in error.

The British government last week refused a request from the high commissioners of 12 Caribbean nations for a dedicated meeting on the subject at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London this week.

As previously reported by The National, changes to the United Kingdom immigration system has meant that tens of thousands of people who moved to the country between 1948 and 1971 could be deemed to be illegally resident in the country and may even face deportation to their "home" nations - some of which the people have not returned to since they made their homes in Britain.

Ms Rudd was challenged in the Commons over an interview in which Ms Nokes appeared to confirm that some Windrush migrants had been wrongly deported.

Theresa May
Image Theresa May was asked for a meeting to discuss immigration problems

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'People who are in that situation, there is absolutely no question of their right to remain, and their right to gain access to services such as healthcare.

"I don't know the numbers, but what I am determined to do going forward is to say we will have no more of this".

"Frankly, some of the ways they have been treated has been wrong, has been appalling and I am sorry".

Under the 1971 Immigration Act, all Commonwealth citizens already living in the United Kingdom were given indefinite leave to remain - but the right to free movement between Commonwealth nations was ended from that date onwards.

The announcement came after a cross-party group of 140 MPs wrote to Mrs May calling for an "immediate and effective" response to problems faced by members of the Windrush generation.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has described the denial of their rights and the deportations as "disgraceful".

This has meant that people who are now either pensioners or are approaching that age, and who have spent their working lives paying taxes in the United Kingdom and often working in public services such as the National Health Service or in the general infrastructure of the country, raising children who are legally resident, are now facing uncertainty.

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