Windrush: Campaigner claims racism still alive at Home Office

Monday, June 22, 2020

A campaigner for immigration detention reform has claimed the Home Office continues to oversee a “culture of disbelief and institutional racism”, despite the Windrush scandal.

Speaking with talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, Bella Sankey, from Detention Action, said: “There is institutional racism hardwired into our laws and our policies and also the culture at the Home Office unfortunately.”

She said that polling by the campaign group showed that the department’s approach to enforcing deportation was “really out of step” with the attitudes of the British public.

The UK is today marking Windrush Day, the 72nd anniversary of the arrival of Empire Windrush on British shores.

Around 500 people from Jamaica were invited by the British government in 1948 to help rebuild the UK after the Second World War, with thousands more continuing to legally arrive from the Caribbean through to the early 1960s.

But the Windrush scandal revealed that members of that generation and their children - who had the right to live in the UK - had been wrongly detained and even deported, or denied access to official documents, healthcare, work, housing benefits and pensions.

Ms Sankey said that the Home Office was yet to show that it has learnt lessons from the scandal.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced that a new working group has been set up to “right the wrongs” suffered by the Windrush generation.

“What we need most now is action,” Ms Patel said.

She will chair the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group with Bishop Derek Webley as part of the government's efforts to address the scandal.

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