In Brief

Home Office ‘institutionally racist’ said report into Windrush scandal

The official review has been repeatedly delayed

An official report that ruled that the Home Office was “institutionally racist” over its policy towards migrants has been toned down.

The Windrush review, commissioned after Caribbean migrants were detained or deported despite having the right to live in Britain, was meant to report in March 2019, but publication has been repeatedly delayed.

The Times reports that the phrase “institutionally racist”, which was included in an early draft of the report, does not appear in more recent versions. Previous leaked extracts found that the Home Office was “reckless” and had developed a “defensive culture” over immigration policy.

An earlier version also recommended that the government consider ending the removal of foreign-born offenders who had come to Britain as children but this recommendation has also disappeared from the latest version.

Government figures now fear that members of the advisory panel that helped to write the review will go public and criticise the government if the report is subjected to significant changes.

Trevor Philips, a former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, claims that the term institutional racism was “being used as a combat weapon to hurl at the Home Office without actually specifying what the Home Office’s failure — which is unarguable — really is”.

The Windrush scandal saw Commonwealth nationals living in the UK wrongly threatened with deportation and deprived of medical care because they lacked the correct documentation.

The group comprises British citizens who came to the UK from the Commonwealth as children following the Second World War, and whose rights were guaranteed in the Immigration Act of 1971.

Named the Windrush generation after British ship the Empire Windrush - which arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex carrying 492 Caribbean passengers in 1948 - an estimated 500,000 people now live in the UK who came here from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1971.

A large number arrived as children, and “many have made the UK their home for their entire lives”, says Channel 4 News.

However, under changes to the immigration law in 2012, these people were forced to prove continuous residence in the UK since 1973, which proved almost impossible for those who had not kept up detailed records.

As a result, some were denied access to state healthcare, made redundant from their jobs and even threatened with deportation.

A Home Office review of 11,800 Caribbean cases identified 164 people who were removed or detained who might have been resident in the UK before 1973.

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