Labour MP David Lammy: Home Office must review Windrush deportations

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The Labour MP has called on the Prime Minister to set out how the children of the Windrush generation - a term for people from the Caribbean countries who arrived in Britain between 1948 and 1971 - will be compensated "for the suffering they have endured at the hands of her Government that has treated them in such a cruel and inhumane manner".

Amber Rudd privately boasted to the prime minister that she would give immigration officials greater "teeth" to hunt down and deport thousands more illegal migrants and accelerate the UK's deportation programme, a leaked private letter has revealed.

At Prime Minister's Questions, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded to know whether Mrs May had signed off the decision to destroy the landing cards in 2010 when she was Home Secretary.

Later on Wednesday the Home Office said a total of 113 people have called a Government hotline for members of the Windrush generation with concerns about their migration status. "This is a shameful episode and the responsibility for it lies firmly at the Prime Minister's door".

Lord Kerslake, who has been advising Jeremy Corbyn, said some ministers were "deeply unhappy" about the introduction of the strategy to create a "hostile environment" for illegal immigrants under then home secretary, Mrs May.

The decision to destroy the cards themselves was taken in October 2010, after the coalition came to power.

Albert Thompson (not his real name), who came to the United Kingdom from Jamaica in 1973, was told he would have to pay £54,000 (Dh282,000) to have treatment for prostate cancer unless he could prove he had the right papers.

She told him: "No, the decision to destroy the landing cards was taken in 2009 under a Labour Government when, as I seem to recall, a Labour home secretary was in position".

The children of the "Windrush generation", named after Empire Windrush ship which brought the first wave of post-war migrants from the Caribbean to the United Kingdom in 1948, have been caught up in a tightening of immigration rules, which has led to many of them being erroneously declared illegal immigrants.


When asked if Mrs May had been aware of the disposal, he responded: "My belief, at this moment, is that it was an operational decision that was taken by the Border Agency".

The PM has told Caribbean leaders she is "genuinely sorry" for the "anxiety caused" and said she wanted to dispel the notion that the Government wanted to clamp down on citizens from the region.

Had indefinite leave to remain, but unwittingly forfeited that when he retired to Jamaica.

There was no question of forcing anyone who had made their life in the United Kingdom and was here legally to leave, she said.

This country owes the Windrush generation a great deal. The truth is that she has said there has been a policy change, that this was an unintended effect.

It has seen some - who might never have felt the need to apply for a United Kingdom passport before - left without the documentation now required by officials. "I don't think this issue will cost Mrs Rudd her job but it has hugely damaged her reputation".

To be blunt, this is certainly not Home Secretary Amber Rudd's finest hour.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today the criteria used by the Home Office to establish continued residency was "arbitrary" and officials should be allowed to use their own discretion to decide on cases. She promised cases would be solved within two weeks of evidence being provided.

A Home Office spokesman later confirmed the decision to destroy millions of pieces of paperwork was taken in June 2009 under Gordon Brown's government to save cash.

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