Anthony Bryan’s ordeal was about to be dramatised in a BBC drama, Sitting in Limbo. Then the phone rang, says Guardian reporter Amelia Gentleman
A warning not to water down a review into the Windrush scandal has been issued after it was reported that a portion branding the Home Office “institutionally racist” was stripped out.
The delayed independent review was commissioned after people with a right to live in the UK were wrongfully detained or deported to the Caribbean.
The Times reported sources saying the phrase “institutionally racist” was included in an earlier draft of the Windrush review led by Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams, but had subsequently been removed.
Hubert Howard has died three weeks after being granted British citizenship, 59 years after arriving in UK
A government watchdog has launched an investigation into the Home Office’s decision to accuse about 34,000 international students of cheating in English language tests, and will scrutinise the thinking behind the subsequent cancellation or curtailment of their visas.
More than 1,000 students have been removed from the UK as a result of the accusation and hundreds have spent time in detention, but large numbers of students say they were wrongly accused. Over 300 cases are pending in the court of appeal as hundreds attempt to clear their names. MPs have warned that this immigration scandal could be “bigger than Windrush”.
The National Audit Office (NAO) has been making preliminary inquiries into the government’s handling of the issue since the beginning of the year, and has now announced that it will proceed with a formal investigation. The body is expected to report its findings in late May or June.
A baby born in the UK to two parents who have indefinite leave to remain in Britain has been denied the right to live in the country in what a human rights lawyer has described as a potentially unlawful move.
Dr Charles Kriel, a US national and special adviser to a parliamentary select committee, said he was returning to the UK from a holiday in Florida with his fiancee, Katharina Viken, and their baby daughter was denied entry. The child was eventually given a six-month tourist stamp to enter the country.
“We were devastated when we were going through it. Immigration officials said there were problems but would not say what they were. This guy said: ‘Just because she is born here doesn’t mean she has a right to be here. You need to sort it out,” Kriel told the Guardian.
“A stamp was put in the passport, saying she [the baby] has six months to be here as long as she does not engage in work. I don’t think she will applying for a job any time soon … So I have indefinite leave to remain and have had that since the late 1990s – I’ve lived in London since then. My fiancee has lived in London for more than 10 years and has an EEA [European Economic Area] passport. We were very clear about all these things with the immigration officials. So now she has the stamp and we are hopeful we can sort it out.”
The human rights lawyer Shoaib Khan said the family had been treated appallingly. He also questioned the legality of the decision.
Last week mass deportations resumed in Britain. It’s less than a year since the Windrush scandal broke – and the review into the events leading up to it hasn’t even reported back yet. This was a stark reminder that the government’s “compliant environment” policies have changed in name only: otherwise they remain as hostile as ever and continue to destroy the lives of black and ethnic minority people (BME) people – many of whom have lived in the UK since they were children.
Before the deportation flight the home secretary, Sajid Javid, declared that many of the “foreign national offenders” on the flight had committed “very serious crimes” – but soon after this the Home Office admitted that most of the deportees had committed minor crimes such as single drug or driving offences. More worryingly, 13 people on the Jamaican charter flight had come to the UK as children – nine of them were under the age of 10, 11 had indefinite leave to remain (ILR), and one person even had a British passport. Not only were most of the people on this flight “more British than foreign”, they were also being punished twice (three times if you include immigration detention) for crimes they had already served sentences for.
Tasfin came to the UK in 1962 from Bangladesh, or what was then called East Pakistan. He was 19 years old. Orphaned during the brutal partition of India by the departing British, he had been working since the age of 12 for an American company in the port city of Chittagong. He made tea, unloaded containers, repaired cars and swept floors. And he eventually concluded that the only way to ensure a better life for himself was to scrape together the fare for a one-way ride to the Tilbury Docks. As a citizen of the Commonwealth, he enjoyed this right to move to the United Kingdom, as did all those now fondly referred to as the “Windrush generation”.
Now 84, Tasfin lives in Tooting, south London, with the eldest of his three sons, surrounded by grandchildren, the youngest of whom will be sitting her GCSEs in a few months’ time. After working for over 40 years on the London Underground, he retired a few months after his wife passed away and struggles with chronic arthritis.
We meet by chance on the No 44 bus and Tasfin, it turns out, is on his way to apply for his first passport. He proudly tells me, “Her Majesty’s Government wrote me a letter to say that I am now a British citizen.”
As with so many others, Tasfin’s journey to this point had started with a routine interaction with the state turning his entire life upside down. In this case it was a visit to an outpatient NHS service in late 2017, where he was asked to prove his immigration status. Having never had the means to travel, Tasfin had never possessed a passport. “My wife was better with paperwork but she had already quit and gone upstairs.” So this elderly man was swallowed whole by the hostile environment.
With no access to healthcare, Tasfin had no way of knowing that the pain in his legs was because of easily treatable blood clots, and he slowly stopped trying to walk at all. By last April there were letters arriving from the Home Office, threatening removal. “I didn’t leave my house or even open the curtains, I was so scared that they would snatch me and take me away”.
Tasfin tells me that he had read about the Windrush scandal in his newspaper and seen it on TV. But “I didn’t come from the Caribbean so I didn’t think it was the same thing”, says Tasfin. It was months before a lawyer attending his mosque heard about Tasfin’s problems and helped him call the Windrush Taskforce. “Alhamdulillah [praise be to God] he said something or I might not be here.”
More than half of British people believe that the Windrush scandalhas shone a light on deeper problems in the immigration system, a new poll has revealed.
The exclusive survey for The Independent indicated that a majority also want an inquiry into the debacle, which saw British citizens wrongly threatened with deportation by immigration officials.
Immigration remains a divisive issue as large numbers of people still believe the UK has a serious problem with illegal migrants, with some 40 per cent showing support for “hostile environment” policies blamed for the scandal.
The local elections across England on May 3 were the first major test of public opinion since prime minister Theresa May lost the Conservatives’ parliamentary majority in 2017’s snap election and returned at the head of a minority government. As then, multiple localised contests defy any single national narrative. As then, the emerging picture is a virtual stalemate between the Conservatives and Labour.
Voters across large swaths of England cast their ballots this year. All the seats in London’s 32 boroughs were up for grabs, as were all the seats in four metropolitan boroughs, seven non-metropolitan districts and one unitary authority. A proportion of seats in 106 other local authorities were also being contested, not to mention five local mayoralities and the new metro mayor for the Sheffield City Region combined authority. If it sounds confusing, it is. Local democracy in England is a kaleidoscopic mess.
Britain has become used to hyper-dramatic elections in recent years. The 2018 contest, by contrast, was much more low key. It was also a mixed night for both the Conservatives and Labour. Overall the Tories have trod water, with no significant changes in their total number of council seats and, at the time of writing, no change in the total number of councils they control. Labour has increased slightly its tally of councillors, but without translating these gains into control of additional councils.
Source: Local elections 2018: how to understand this messy result : The Conversation
Home secretary Amber Rudd is facing calls to resign over the Windrush scandal. From bungled statements about deportation targets to the suffering her department has caused, the crisis has gone from bad to worse.
And now there’s even worse news for Rudd and the Home Office. Because human rights experts from the UN have expressed concern over “structural racism” in the UK.
The experts were responding to data on the number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people killed as a result of contact with “state security”. They stated:
The deaths reinforce the experiences of structural racism, over-policing and criminalisation of people of African descent and other minorities in the UK.
According to the press release from the UN:
Data disclosed by the Metropolitan Police in August 2017 found that people of African descent and of ethnic minority background, in particular young African and Caribbean men, subject to deadly use of force by restraint and restraint equipment, were twice as likely to die after the use of force by police officers and the subsequent lack or insufficiency of access to appropriate healthcare.
This is backed up by data from Inquest, a charity that supports families and investigates deaths in custody. According to its analysis of data across England and Wales from 1990 to 2018: