Word that members of the Windrush generation recently threatened with deportation would now be granted citizenship status is being greeted with much skepticism by many.
They are wary of a new hotline established to put in touch with the Home Office who has promised to iron out their immigration issues.
The British government on Monday said Commonwealth nationals, including those from the Caribbean, who arrived in Britain between 1948 and 1973 on the ship, ‘Empire Windrush,’ would have their citizenship status formalized following the controversy that erupted over the so-called undocumented United Kingdom (UK) immigrants.
In a statement to the British Parliament on Monday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd apologized for the change in immigration rules.
However, Tottenham Member of Parliament David Lammy, a leading campaigner for justice for Windrush families, has since stated in the British media that persons were still fearful of being deported.
He contended that Windrush children must be guaranteed that the helpline will not be used as an information-gathering service for immigration enforcement.
In her statements on Monday, Amber Rudd insisted that the information gathered in the helpline would not be used to remove people from the country.
She instead assured that its purpose was to help and support. She purported that it had never been the intention for a crackdown on illegal immigration to affect those who were British in all but their legal status.
Rudd told the British Parliament that, “This should never have happened. We need to show a human face to how we work and exercise greater judgement where it is justified.”
She also had reaffirmed that all Home Office records dating back to 2002 would be checked to see if anyone had been wrongly deported.
“The state has let these people down, travel documents denied, exclusions of returning to the UK, benefits cut and threats to deport. This has happened for some time. I will put this right and where people have suffered loss, they will be compensated,” she told lawmakers earlier this week.
Rudd had promised to speed up the compensation for anyone who had “suffered loss.” She underscored that the citizenship offer would apply not just to the families of Caribbean migrants, who came to the UK between 1948 and 1973, but anyone from other Commonwealth nations who settled in the UK over the same period.
Meanwhile, 63-year-old Jamaican-born Londoner, Albert Thompson, the Windrush victim who was denied National Health Services cancer care, has been given a date for the radiotherapy treatment he was due to begin last November. Hospital staff had questioned his immigration status and denied him treatment.
However, Thompson’s immigration status remains uncertain, despite an appointment to meet officials from the new Windrush taskforce on Friday.