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Gov't must make amends, says leading Brit Caribbean group

PICTURED: BCA’s present chairman is Clive Lewis MP

A BRITISH Caribbean group that works with MPs is backing MP David Lammy’s call for an investigation of government immigration policy and details of compensation for the Windrush generation.

The British Caribbean Association (BCA) pledges it will press the government to ensure protection from deportation, obstruction to re-entry, access to work, housing and health services to long standing British residents of Caribbean heritage.

It also calls on government to restore the residency protection removed by the Immigration Act 2014 for those from the Caribbean living in the UK for decades and had been granted the right to remain.

Members of the BCA share the grief felt by possibly thousands whose UK residency status is questioned because they cannot demonstrate they came here from the Caribbean as children. The BCA’s present chairman is Clive Lewis MP, the Rt Hon David Lammy MP is a deputy chair and the group works with the Caribbean High Commissions.

Many people have lost jobs, homes, are denied government services and have had to pay for lawyers to prove to the government that they are not illegal migrants.

BCA Deputy Chairman, David Michael said: "David Lammy made a brilliant speech in the House of Commons that laid bare the shame the government should be feeling because of its poor decisions. We also thank the Caribbean governments and High Commissions, particularly Barbados, for asking the UK government to change its policy.

“The immigration service has always been tough on people from the Caribbean but the cost paid by many because of the current regime has been too high. Lives have been ruined and lost.

“The UK government should demonstrate that it regrets its decisions by compensating those affected, investigate its migration policy and change the law.

“Many people with a Caribbean heritage and others from the Commonwealth have been uneasy about the emotions about immigration the Brexit vote stirred up. This looks like an example of the damage caused as a result of government trying to satisfy those emotions.”

Individuals who have contributed to the UK for decades found themselves out of work and having to spend their money because they were suspect illegal migrants.

According to the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, the 1971 Immigration Act gave all Commonwealth citizens already living in the UK were given indefinite leave to remain.

The 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act protected long-term Commonwealth residents from enforced removal. This provision was removed in the 2014 legislation.

Residents who did not have official documentation recognized by the Home Office became subject to enforced removal due to the 2014 law.

“The BCA regards the apology, promises by government to help Windrush children identify relevant documents, and to compensate them as an encouraging start. We encourage any individuals or families affected by the unfair and unjust immigration laws to contact their Member of Parliament, their High Commission or the Joint Commission for the Welfare of Immigrants,” said David Michael.

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