Wrongly deported Windrush migrants 'will be dead or destitute', David Lammy says
Many Windrush migrants who have been wrongly deported after getting caught up in an illegal immigration crackdown will now be “dead or destitute”, a prominent Labour MP has warned.
David Lammy demanded a full public inquiry after it was revealed yesterday some 63 British citizens from the Commonwealth may have been booted out of the UK by mistake.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the overall number of those thought to have been wrongly removed could rise as more cases are investigated.
Mr Lammy - who has campaigned doggedly on the Windrush scandal - today painted a stark picture of the possible fate of those British citizens who may have been sent overseas.
“Sending people back to Jamaica without a pound in their pocket means that many now will be dead or destitute,” he told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.
“They are leaving a country with a National Health Service, with a welfare state, where their family and friends are, and being removed to a country with a GDP of less than £3,700.
“This is very serious. It requires are proper public inquiry. 63 or more British nationals have been rounded up and taken across the ocean.”
The Tottenham MP added: “We have not banished people since we stopped sending people to Australia in 1868. So of course it’s serious and of course it requires a public inquiry.
Mr Lammy argued the Home Office should be broken up in the wake of the blunders because "it is just too big".
Mr Javid made the bombshell admission at a hearing of the Home Affairs Select Committee - his first since taking over the job from Amber Rudd, who was forced to quit after misleading MPs about deportation targets.
He said that among deportation records since 2002 the Government had “found 63 cases where individuals could have entered the UK before 1973” and that the number could change as cases are investigated.
However Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington today said 63 was the “maximum” number of those who may have been wrongly deported.
The Windrush generation includes thousands of people who were granted British citizenship when they came from the Caribbean between the 1940s and 1970s but were not given documents to prove their status.
Many have been threatened with deportation or stripped of their rights to work, benefits and healthcare amid a Government crackdown on illegal immigration.