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63 wrongful deportations being investigated, Home Office admits

Windrush scandal grows as activist Zita Holbourne says the number could be far higher

SIXTY-THREE possible wrongful deportations are being investigated by the Home Office in light of the Windrush scandal — but campaigners said that the actual number may be higher.

Officials have examined 8,000 records dating back to 2002 following fears raised by MPs that people who had been in the country lawfully for decades may have been forced to leave.

On Tuesday, Home Secretary Sajid Javid disclosed that 63 people who arrived in Britain from the Caribbean before 1973 may have been wrongly removed or deported.

Of these, 32 are categorised as foreign national offenders, while 31 were people subject to “administrative” removals.

Mr Javid noted that the figures were not final. 

The Home Office also said it had identified 17 non-Windrush cases since 2015 in which a person was returned to Britain after being wrongfully deported.

Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (Barac) co-founder Zita Holbourne told the Morning Star that she thinks the number of wrongful Windrush deportations is likely to be far higher given the number of mass removals on charter flights.

She said: “I don’t believe this figure takes account of those who are the family of Windrush generation people such as children and grandchildren.

“People were invited from the Caribbean to come and work to help the country recover post war, they came, worked hard in the face of horrific racism in what was called the ‘mother country’. What mother disregards, rejects and ejects their children in this way?”

Ms Holbourne said the figure also doesn’t factor in people who were refused entry back into Britain after spending most of their lives here.  

“There has to be a case-by-case approach and assessment and full compensation for all loss damages and injury, the psychological impact as well as physical and financial impact,” she added.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said Labour would rescind all elements of the legislation supporting Theresa May’s “hostile environment,” including shutting down “immigration removal centres” and ending indefinite detention.

Ms Abbott said Labour would also restore “proper rights of appeal.”

“If we are going to deprive people of the right to be here, we must be clear that they do not have the right to live here,” she said.

Global Justice Now campaigner Aisha Dodwell said Labour’s pledge is “really encouraging for a more humane approach” to immigration, which she says is sorely needed.

“So far Sajid Javid has only expressed regret about the word ‘hostile,’ not the actual environment,” she added.

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