“A toxic combination of immigration policies, Home Office culture, and individual and institutional failings made this scandal almost inevitable.”
The government has published the independent report into the Windrush scandal. This was commissioned in 2018 after it came to light that some of those who came to the UK from Commonwealth countries had been wrongly told they were in Britain illegally. British citizens ended up being deported, dismissed from their jobs, and denied health care.
Independent reviewer, Wendy Williams, was asked to investigate the reasons why this scandal occurred and the lessons that should be learned.
The report concludes that the Home Office showed “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race and the history of the Windrush generation”.
It makes 30 detailed recommendations, including that the government should make an unqualified apology, do more to right the wrongs, set up a full review of the hostile environment policy, implement a programme of cultural change at the Home Office, and appoint a Migrants Commissioner.
Commenting on the report, Simeon Mitchell from the Joint Public Issues Team said:
“This long-awaited review is detailed and damning. It should be a source of national shame that over many years the UK government treated so many British citizens so wrongly on the basis of their race or country of birth.
“As well as documenting many individual injustices which need to be righted, the report uncovers how a toxic combination of immigration policies, Home Office culture, and individual and institutional failings made this scandal almost inevitable.
“It is essential that each of these areas is systematically addressed.
“As we highlighted in a report in 2018, many of the web of ‘hostile environment’ policies which contributed to this situation are still in place and causing deprivation, discrimination and distrust. The review’s recommendation that their impact be scrupulously assessed and limited must be pursued with urgency.
“It should be a basic expectation that the government treats everyone with respect, fairness and humanity.”
The Joint Public Issues Team will be following up on this report over the coming weeks.
Find out more and take action
Visit our Hostile Environment page to read our 2018 report, access church and youth resources, and join our campaign to dismantle the hostile environment.