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The Windrush scandal exposes the Home Office’s brutality

by Steve Beasant on 19 April, 2018

The Windrush Generation are British citizens. People who’ve lived here for decades – working, raising families, part of Britain. How they have been treated by the Home Office is brutal and cruel.

The following article was written by Edward Davey and published on Tuesday, Apr 17 on the Lib Dem website.

Theresa May.

The Windrush scandal has exposed the brutality of the Home Office and the Conservatives more clearly than a multitude of other immigration and asylum scandals.

The reason?

The Windrush Generation are British citizens. People who’ve lived here for decades – working, raising families, part of Britain.

Even the Daily Mail has been forced to back their case.

And we should be proud of Liberal Democrat campaigners like Hackney’s Pauline Pearce who’ve helped lead the campaign for their rights.

As the longest serving Home Secretary who oversaw this system, Theresa May herself must be held to account.

But while we have Ministers on the backfoot over Windrush, and champion the Windrush cause, we should press home the wider case against this Government’s shocking immigration and asylum policies.

In the Commons, I forced the Home Secretary to confirm the new dedicated unit for the Windrush Generation would also apply to all people from former Commonwealth countries in similar situations – whether they were born in Australia or India, Canada or Pakistan.

That’s a start.

But what about the thousands of people from other countries who’ve lived here for decades, yet are treated appallingly by the Home Office?

As a local MP, I’ve had a significant number of cases over the years of people living here for 20 years, 30 years, 40 years – and longer – where the Home Office has refused to grant them British passports, indefinite leave to remain and so on.

These injustices can affect people’s lives in dramatic ways.

I’m currently helping an elderly gentleman from Iran. He’s homeless, fighting cancer and the Home Office are refusing to grant him status, so he can get no benefits.

He came to the UK in 1973.

Like you, I get angry about how the Conservatives treat Syrian refugees.

How they are fighting attempts to make British law like the rest of Europe’s, so we can allow refugee families to be reunited.

How the Home Office on a daily basis gets things so utterly wrong, that they are losing 50% of immigration appeals, according to new Law Society figures.

With the Conservatives playing to an anti-immigrant, Daily Mail agenda, especially post-Brexit, we have to challenge all this.

From our struggles in the Coalition, we know that can be difficult – our long-fought victory to stop child detention in immigration centres was subsequently overturned after the Coalition.

But as Britain’s party of reform, we have to defeat the Conservatives’ “hostile environment” immigration policy, introduced by Theresa May, which plays such a big part in these hideous injustices.

And let’s start by building on this Windrush victory by campaigning for the rights of all long-term residents of our country.

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