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Windrush: Gov't knew for years about 'hostile' policy impact

WINDRUSH SCANDAL: Theresa May has apologised to Caribbean leaders over the immigration controversy

THE GOVERNMENT has known for years that “hostile environment” legislation would negatively impact members of the Windrush generation, a letter from a Home Office minister has revealed.

In the letter written by James Brokenshire, immigration minister from 2014 – 2016, it's revealed that Trevor Johnson, who arrived to the UK from Jamaica as a boy in 1971, was liable to face deportation because he was not able to prove that he had arrived prior to 1973.

Johnson was also unable to provide the Home Office with paperwork that proved his continuous residence during the 1980s and 1990s. As a result his right to remain in the UK was called into question and his benefits were stopped.

Brokenshire was quizzed about the 2016 letter during an interview on ITV’s Peston on Sunday programme and said that he had not seen it before.

The letter written by James Brokenshire to Labour MP Kate Hoey

He said: "We did, as a Home Office, look compassionately over a number of individual cases. And you do try to make the right decisions."

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, justice secretary David Gauke said: “It is right that we take illegal immigration seriously – of course I stress we are not talking about illegal immigrants in the Windrush case – but it is perfectly reasonable to, for example, want to ensure that when we are providing public services they are being provided to people who are entitled to them.”

Sayeeda Warsi, a former Conservative party chair and cabinet minister, said: “I think we were all responsible. I would hold myself responsible as part of the government.

“What happened unfortunately during those years and has continued is that we had an unhealthy obsession with numbers. We were wedded to unrealistic targets, targets that we still haven’t met unfortunately a decade on, and yet we continue to remain wedded to targets.

“And what we ended up with was, I think, the unintended consequences of the policy we are now implementing.”

Earlier this month, Liberty, the civil rights organisation, released a guide in collaboration with eight other organisations outlining the extent of the government’s hostile environment policies.

In a statement, Liberty said: “Anyone deemed to look ‘foreign’ is at risk of being denied access to vital services. Black and minority ethnic (BAME) people are particularly affected.”

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