Thursday, March 19, 2020

We must ensure the Windrush Scandal can never happen again

Responding to the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, published today by the Home Office, Liberal Democrat Vice President Isabelle Parasram said:
“The Windrush Scandal laid bare the horrifying cruelty of the Conservatives’ Hostile Environment. People who have every right to live in the UK were wrongly denied access to NHS treatment, housing and other services simply because they don’t have the right documents to prove it. Many were wrongfully detained and even deported.
“The way the Government has treated the Windrush Generation – as well as other immigrants and people from BAME backgrounds – is shameful. It is the direct consequence of cruel, discriminatory policies and the toxic culture at the Home Office. Both of those must change.
“This Lessons Learned Review is long overdue, and reports that the Home Office has suppressed some of its criticisms and recommendations are very concerning. The Government owes it to the victims of the Windrush Scandal to ensure that nothing like it can happen again, and that cannot happen without a transparent and honest assessment of the Home Office’s policies and practices.
“Now that the report has finally been published, we need urgent action from the Home Secretary to dismantle the Hostile Environment altogether. That should begin with repealing the discriminatory ‘Right to Rent’ law, ending immigration checks and upfront charging in the NHS, and establishing a firewall to prevent public agencies – such as schools, the NHS and the police – from sharing personal information with the Home Office for the purposes of immigration enforcement.
“The Government must introduce compassion and common sense into our immigration system. That means making detention an absolute last resort, with a time limit and an end to the detention of vulnerable people. And it means ending automatic deportations – and stopping altogether the practice of deporting people who came to the UK as children to countries they have never known.
“Liberal Democrats celebrate those who choose to come to the UK to work, study or join their families for the enormous contributions they make to our society, our economy and our communities. We are fighting for a fair, effective immigration system that treats everyone with dignity and respect.”

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