Home Secretary Sajid Javid has admitted the Home Office has found that eight more of the Windrush generation who were incorrectly deported from the UK, have died, bringing the total to 11.
The revelation came in the Home Secretary’s monthly Windrush update to the Home Affairs Select Committee and this number could be revised upwards as the Home Office has only contacted 117 out of 164 people that a historical review identified as having been illegally deported or detained.
Confusion on True Scale of the Windrush Victims
The update also admits the Home Office is unclear on how many people may have been wrongly deported, stating, “the numbers we gave in our update of 21 August remain provisional and subject to change.”
The update highlights that 83 people have been removed from the UK, and of these only 42 have been traced. It states, “8 individuals are deceased and there are 33 individuals whom we have been unable to contact.”
Critics and campaigners are concerned that six months after the establishment of the Windrush Taskforce, it has been unable to establish just how many UK citizens have had their fundamental human rights breached and been illegally removed.
The Windrush generation must have justice and the hostile environment must end.
Dianne Abbot MP, Shadow Home Secretary
Commenting on the revelation that 11 wrongly deported British citizens had died, Dianne Abbott said, “These revelations are a complete disgrace. The government deporting British citizens, some of whom have now died, all points to the real evils of the hostile environment. The Windrush generation must have justice and the hostile environment must end.”
What an utter shambles the Home Office is.
Joanna Cherry MP
Joanna Cherry MP for Edinburgh South West described the Home Office as an ‘utter shambles’. She said, “This is a total disgrace. What an utter shambles the Home Office is. Theresa May’s toxic legacy is really coming home to roost.”
Amelia Gentleman the journalist who exposed the Windrush Scandal story said, “It’s amazing that we still don’t know the full scale of this scandal.”
Since the Windrush Taskforce was announced by Sajid Javid in April it has issued 2, 427 right to remain documentation to individuals caught up in the Windrush scandal and also people from Commonwealth countries who were unable to provide documentation proving their status or citizenship.
Is Sajid Javid’s Windrush Taskforce Working?
Credit: Flickr Steve Eason
On becoming Home Secretary in late April 2018, Sajid Javid promised to ‘do right‘ by the Windrush generation and announced a compensation scheme for people who face severe financial difficulties as result of being unable to prove their settled status or UK citizenship.
However over six months on, details of the compensation scheme have yet to be confirmed and the consultation process has come under criticism for being poorly advertised and too complex, as it includes a 63-page booklet for guidance.
Many have already been waiting for years and are at risk of destitution.
Satbir Singh, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
Satbir Singh, the chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said “Many have already been waiting for years and are at risk of destitution.”
Margaret Hodge MP highlighted the financial hardship faced by her constituent, Sarah O’Connor, who sadly passed away in September, and its devastating impact as a result of the hostile environment.
In a letter to Sajid Javid, Hodge stated: “As a Windrush victim she was treated appallingly by the Home Office who questioned her status as a British citizen for a year. This resulted in her falling into extreme financial hardship, which impacted on her mental well-being right up until the day she died.”
Hodge details how O’Connor was, “unable to work, or claim benefits, which then led to difficulties with her council tax.”
“She was forced to sell her car, her clothes, and even cut her granddaughter’s swimming lessons […] she suffered further when she was informed by her landlord that he was going to evict her from her home.”
The Home Office has hosted six ‘roadshows’ on the compensation scheme in London, Nottingham, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, led by Martin Forde QC and Wendy Williams.