More than 60 displaced in the Windrush Scandal
New numbers have come to light in the ongoing Windrush scandal with the newly appointed home secretary, Sajid Javid, revealing that 63 people have been wrongfully removed or deported from the UK.
In his first appearance before the Home Affairs Select Committee since his appointment last month, Mr Javid has also told MPs that this number is subject to change as his department and other officials continue reviewing the records. It is claimed 8,000 Caribbean nationals are thought to have been deported since 2002 and deportation records of those over 45 are being flagged with further investigations occurring into whether they, in fact, had benefited from the 1971 Immigration Act.
Previous evidence given to the select committee has been contradicted fairly quickly, leading many to view the entire affair as an example of interdepartmental incompetence. This information, in particular, contradicts the evidence given by the immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, last week that she was unaware of any wrongful displacements.
The 63 people of the Windrush generation have been targeted by the ‘hostile environment’ policies that were instigated by the now prime minister, Theresa May, during her time as home secretary. As well as leading to removals and deportations the policies also force people out of work and render them ineligible for welfare benefits.
The select committee has also quizzed Mr Javid on the possible cases of wrongful detention. In response, the home secretary has stated that this is not his current priority and that he does not “know how many people from Windrush have been wrongly detained.”
The numbers given and the narrow focus of the department have prompted further calls into a full public inquiry into the scandal, with Sabtir Singh, chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, saying that the case “grows stronger every day.” An online petition for such an inquiry has reached just under 20% of its target of 10,000 after a week.
Whilst the government assesses its options and addresses concerns in committee, a task-force and helpline have been launched by the government to help those who may have been wrongly deported in the Windrush scandal. It remains unclear, however, whether the ‘hostile environment’ policy will be rethought or scrapped.