Britain Tuesday apologised to 18 people who were deported to the Caribbean or detained because they could not produce documents to prove their right to live in the United Kingdom.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who said their treatment was “completely unacceptable” apologised for the situation after a protracted analysis of almost 12,000 immigration cases.
London published a new estimate of the number of people deported in error to the Caribbean as part of the government’s commitment to provide monthly updates on how it is handling the continuing fallout from the so-called “Windrush” scandal.
The review found that the 18 people were “most likely to have suffered detriment because their right to be in the UK was not recognised” and Javid said that these were the cases he believed his “department is most likely to have acted wrongfully”.
The Home office said that it has been in contact with 14 of the 18 people and were trying to contact the others. It said that the most serious cases include 11 people who were wrongly deported and another seven who were detained but not deported.
The figure of 18 is lower than the 63 previously estimated to have been wrongfully removed from the country, however the government has significantly adjusted the way it is calculating the total.
But observers say the adjustment of the calculation will prove controversial among Windrush campaigners, who argue that if someone has the right to citizenship, then it is wrong to deport them, even if they have spent long periods out of the country, or committed an offence.
“The experiences faced by some members of the Windrush generation are completely unacceptable and I am committed to righting the wrongs of the past. I would like to personally apologise to those identified in our review and am committed to providing them with the support and compensation they deserve,” Javid said:
“We must do everything we can to ensure that nothing like this happens again, which is why I have asked an independent adviser to look at what lessons we can learn from Windrush,” he added.
The update, issued in a letter to the home affairs select committee, stated that 2,272 Windrush generation people had been helped to get the documentation needed to prove their right to be in the UK; and 1,465 people had been granted citizenship or other documentation to prove their status under the scheme.