Sajid Javid apologises to 18 'wrongfully removed or detained' Windrush migrants

Written by Nicholas Mairs on 22 August 2018 in News
News

Apology comes after Windrush review calls for evidence including from Home Office staff of all grades

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Sajid Javid has apologised to 18 Windrush migrants after a government review found they may have been “wrongfully removed” from Britain or detained.

The home secretary revealed that 11 out of 18 people who came to the UK from the Caribbean before 1973 “voluntarily left” as a result of a lack of documents to prove their right to stay.

Meanwhile, the other seven were detained but subsequently released without being removed.


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The evidence, submitted to the Home Affairs Select Committee comes as part of an ongoing government review into removals, detentions and compliant environment measures affecting Caribbean nationals.

The Windrush scandal sparked major criticism of the UK’s treatment of long-standing British citizens from the Caribbean and a wider critique of the “hostile environment” approach to migration.

The study, being conducted by a dedicated Home Office taskforce, found that of the 18 people, seven were removed and five detained after the coalition government came to power in May 2010, while four were removed and two detained prior to this date.

The review has so far looked at 11,800 cases, with 14 of those directly affected having been contacted so far.

Javid also confirmed that those who are not in the UK will be able to return, while those who are entitled to compensation will be given the help to claim it when the scheme opens.

In a statement, he said: "The experiences faced by some members of the Windrush generation are completely unacceptable and I am committed to righting the wrongs of the past.

"I would like to personally apologise to those identified in our review and am committed to providing them with the support and compensation they deserve.

"We must do everything we can to ensure that nothing like this happens again – which is why I have asked an independent adviser to look at what lessons we can learn from Windrush."

Some 2,272 people have been issued with documentation to confirm their right to remain in the UK since the Windrush taskforce was established in April.

Javid’s statement came after the independent review into the events leading up to the Windrush scandal has published a call for evidence that will run until 19 October 2018.

The review will involve talking to “Home Office staff of all grades” and people directly affected and their families, but is also seeking “valuable perspectives” from others outside these two main groups.

It is seeking written comments on the “main legislative, policy and operational decisions” that led to people who arrived from the Caribbean before 1971 becoming “entangled in measures designed for illegal immigrants”.

However, shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said Javid’s apology was “overdue” and “nowhere near good enough”.

“The government has still not got a final figure on how many of our fellow citizens were deported, forced into so-called ‘voluntary removals’ or detained as prisoners in their own country,” she added.

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Nicholas Mairs
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Nicholas Mairs is a news reporter for PoliticsHome, where this story first appeared. He tweets @Nicholas_Mairs

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