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SAJID JAVID finally apologised for the Home Office’s shocking treatment of members of the Windrush generation today after a departmental review into the scandal found that 18 people may have been wrongfully removed or held in immigration detention.
The Home Secretary said he would “like to personally apologise to those identified” in the review.
His penitence failed to impress shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, who said: “This apology is overdue and is 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.
“It is an insult that the Home Secretary has still failed to confirm when the promised compensation scheme will be up and running after so many of our fellow citizens have been left destitute, in debt and jobless by the government’s hostile environment.”
People who have been living legally in Britain for decades have lost their jobs, been denied access to NHS treatment, benefits and pensions and had their driving licences withdrawn while being warned of possible deportation.
Labour is calling for a hardship fund to be set up immediately to support those affected ahead of the government’s promised compensation scheme, which Ms Abbott says will clearly not be up and running for months.
The investigation found that 11 people who came to the country from the Caribbean prior to 1973 and stayed permanently left the country “voluntarily” after being unable to establish continuous residence.
Some of those who departed were served with immigration enforcement papers informing them they had no right to be in Britain. A further seven individuals were detained and released without being removed.
The review, which has looked at 11,800 detention and removal cases of non-foreign national offenders, also identified 74 people who appear to have been either detained or removed because they had lost their entitlement to indefinite leave to remain after leaving the country for more than two years.
The Home Office said all of those identified will be put in contact with a specialist taskforce and directed to a compensation scheme.
Mr Javid has said the initial priority is to contact the 18 cases which the government considers are the most likely to have suffered “detriment.”
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