A NEW report by the equalities watchdog in the UK has found out that the Home Office had ‘unlawfully ignored’ warnings that the Windrush generation might face ‘serious injustices’ due to changes in immigration rules.
The equality and human rights commission’s (EHRC) report found a ‘lack of organisation-wide commitment’ to the importance of ‘equality’.
It said that the ‘hostile environment’ policy had harmed many people already living in the UK.
“From 2012, this policy accelerated the impact of decades of complex policy and practice based on a history of white and black immigrants being treated differently,” the report said.
The watchdog recommended that the Home Office should enter an agreement with it by the end of January 2021 to prepare and implement action plan to ‘avoid a future breach’, which the Home Office agreed.
The commission’s interim chair Caroline Waters said that the treatment of the Windrush generation was a ‘shameful stain’ on British history.
The Windrush generation came from the Caribbean to the UK from 1948 to 1971. An estimated 500,000 people living in the country make up the surviving members of the generation.
Responding to the report, the Home Office said it was determined to ‘right the wrongs suffered’ by the generation.
“We are determined to right the wrongs suffered by the Windrush generation and make amends for the institutional failings they faced, spanning successive governments over several decades. We are already applying a more rigorous approach to policy making and would increase openness to scrutiny, and create a more inclusive workforce,” said home secretary Priti Patel and Home Office permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft, in a statement.
The Labour party has said that the ministers should be ‘deeply ashamed’ of the report’s findings.
“Ministers must work urgently to rectify this, including getting a grip of the Windrush compensation scheme, which has descended into an offensive mess, piling injustice upon injustice,” Labour shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds told the BBC.
Satbir Singh, chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said that successive home secretaries had ignored the repeated warnings that hostile environment policies would lead to ‘serious discrimination’ and ‘denial of rights’ for people of colour’.