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UK government under pressure over migrants

Jamaican immigrants off the ex-troopship HMT ‘Empire Windrush’ are welcomed to the UK in 1948.The British government has come under further pressure over its handling of a migrant scandal, after claims senior politicians ignored fears surrounding the impact of its immigration policy on Caribbean-born British residents.
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Home Secretary Amber Rudd is facing calls to address the Commons on Monday after a weekend which included accusations of wilful ignorance and “racism” levelled at the government.

The migrants concerned are known as the “Windrush generation”, named after a ship that brought some of them as children from the Caribbean to the UK in 1948.

A slew of case studies continues to emerge about members of the Windrush generation facing problems with access to healthcare and other state services after the “hostile environment” policy was introduced by Theresa May.

Then home secretary, the measures she brought in were intended to clamp down on illegal immigrants.

The Guardian claimed the effects of that policy – which have resulted in claims of people struggling to return to the UK after a trip back to the Caribbean – were known years ago.

The newspaper said former minister James Brokenshire, in a letter to a fellow MP who raised concerns about a constituent, was aware the gentleman would be liable for deportation, partly because the government no longer stored documentary evidence that he was legally allowed to live in the UK.

Brokenshire denied having seen the letter when asked about it on Sunday.

Labour MP David Lammy, who has helped spearhead a campaign on behalf of the Windrush generation, also accused May of having ignored warnings in 2014 about the impact of her immigration policy while she was home secretary.

A report published in 2014 by charity Legal Action Group highlighted the plight of thousands of long-term UK residents who were unable to prove their immigration status, or had “irregular” status.

Although it did not mention the Windrush generation by name, the report referred to migrants who came to the UK from the Caribbean in the same era.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said he was “ashamed” at what had happened, but insisted the policy of cracking down on illegal immigrants had been correct.

Labour continued to single out the prime minister and the home secretary for personal blame for the controversy, with shadow cabinet member Dawn Butler insisting it was the result of policies promoting “institutionalised racism”.

Party leader Jeremy Corbyn joined in calls for Ms Rudd to quit if she did not get an immediate grip on the situation.

Both May and Rudd have apologised over the handling of the affair.

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