The British government apologized Thursday for its treatment of Britons of Caribbean origin who were wrongly detained or deported for being illegal immigrants, after the publication of a devastating official report.
The inquiry found that successive governments trying to show they were tough on illegal immigration displayed a "complete disregard" for the "Windrush" generation who moved to Britain legally in the 1950s and 1960s. Their status was regularized in 1971 but few were given any official documentation, nor were records kept. As a result, hundreds and potentially thousands were caught up in successive immigration clampdowns, with 164 people who arrived in Britain before 1973 either detained or deported since 2002.
The inquiry found the Home Office interior ministry had shown "an institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race and the history" of those involved. It said the scandal, which broke in 2018 and prompted the resignation of the then home secretary, was "foreseeable and avoidable."
Officials also failed to properly consider the unintended consequences of their policies, and when the scandal broke, they were slow to react.
In response, current Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was "shocked" by the "terrible injustices" involved. "There is nothing that I can say today which will undo the pain, the suffering and the misery inflicted on the Windrush generation," she said in a statement to parliament.
Legal Windrush migrants had been denied housing, jobs or medical treatment because of requirements that landlords, employers and doctors in the U.K. check people’s immigration status. Others were told by the government that they were in Britain illegally and had to leave.
The scandal drew in former Prime Minister Theresa May, who was home secretary when the "hostile environment” policy was introduced. May apologized Thursday and said the government had to take heed of the report's findings.
In recent years, some of them, now elderly, were refused medical care or threatened with deportation because they could not produce paperwork proving their right to reside in the U.K. Some were even deported.
Lead author Wendy Williams, a lawyer and former inspector of police, said "members of the Windrush generation and their children have been poorly served by this country.
“They had every right to be here and should never have been caught in the immigration net," she said.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.