Labour says Windrush generation treatment "unacceptable"

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

'People should not be concerned about this - they have the right to stay and we should be reassuring them of that, ' she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Downing Street's change of heart followed the publication of a letter sent to the prime minister, Theresa May, and signed by more than 140 MPs from across the political spectrum.

As Home Secretary, she removed the rules protecting Commonwealth citizens and as Prime Minister she has completely ignored the issue.

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

The "Windrush generation" refers to the ship which brought workers from the Caribbean to the United Kingdom in 1948.

An online petition calling for an amnesty for those who arrived in Britain from Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean as children and a lowering of the level of documentary proof required from people who have lived here since they were children has now attracted more than 136,000 signatures.

Mrs May's official spokesman said the Prime Minister "deeply values" the contribution made by Commonwealth citizens in the United Kingdom, and was "clear that no-one with the right to be here will be made to leave".

However, the Home Office did not keep a record of those granted leave to remain or issue any paperwork confirming it, meaning it is hard for the individuals to now prove they are in the United Kingdom legally.

Mrs May is to meet her counterparts from Caribbean states in the margins of the Commonwealth summit in London on Tuesday amid growing anger about individuals facing the threat of deportation and being denied access to healthcare due to United Kingdom paperwork issues.

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

"There have been some horrendous situations which as a minister have appalled me", the immigration minister told ITV News in response to a question about deportations.

"What clearly needs to happen is we need to do a better job with the process that these individuals are having to go through".

It said: "We urge you to guarantee the status of all Commonwealth nationals whose right to remain is protected by law and to provide an effective, humane route to the clarification of their status".

The letter to the PM was co-ordinated by David Lammy, chairman of the Race and Community All Party Parliamentary Group, and has the backing of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Conservative MPs such as Sarah Wollaston.

Barbados high commissioner Guy Hewitt told the BBC: 'I have held as a great honour the fact that I am the first London-born high commissioner for Barbados.

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

Ms Rudd announced the creation of a new task force in the Home Office to speed up the regularisation of the immigration status of people who arrived in the United Kingdom as long ago as the 1940s. But many arrived on their parents' documentation and never formally applied for British citizenship or a passport.

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


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