Amber Rudd's Windrush apology does not to impress
Amber Rudd Amber Ruddâs Windrush apology does not to impress Readers respond to the Guardianâs reporting on the Windrush affair
Amelia Gentlemanâs article (Ruddâs U Turn: At last an end to the staggering heartlessness, 17 April) rightly welcomes the belated government U-turn over the Hom e Officeâs appalling treatment of the Windrush generation. But I doubt if this will mark an end to the Home Officeâs âstaggering heartlessnessâ.
In 2012 David Cameron set up the âHostile Environment Working Groupâ. Sarah Teather, then a Liberal Democrat minister, was outraged by this title and it was changed. But ministers have continued to use of this kind of language and I fear it has moulded Home Office attitudes. Out of this working group came the Immigration Act 2014, which Labour supported at second reading. This act required all sorts of public and private bodies to bear down on people without appropriate immigration documentation. Those of us who warned that it would have a pernicious effect were ignored.
Amber Ruddâs U-turn will only help the Windrush generation. There will be many thousands of people in later generations who will lack âappropriate documentationâ and whose situations are complex and need sensitive understanding. My fear is th at they will face the same arbitrariness and lack of sensitivity that the Windrush generation have experienced.
â¢ Would the governmentâs abrupt and abject about-turn over the Windrush affair have taken place at all if the Commonwealth heads of government meeting was not currently in progress in London? This allowed a critical mass of senior Caribbean politicians to form and lean heavily on the government. Up to the start of this week the Home Office had completely ignored the looming crisis with its usual poisonous mix of indifference, intransigence, incompetence and inhumanity. The current urgency makes me wonder if Her Majesty had not âadvisedâ the prime minister that she did not wish to have her favourite parade rained on.
â¢ Can I assume that the governmentâs apparent U-turn and apology for their treatment of the Windrush generation will now mean that NHS trusts all over the country will stop asking these same people to prove their entitlement to free treatment? Only last week my 79-year-old husband â" who came here from Trinidad in 1962 and has lived here legally since then, worked hard, raised a family and paid taxes and NI â" was sent an appointment letter for a kidney specialist accompanied by a long form to fill in asking for documentary proof of his immigration status and right to treatment. We are both outraged. It is time to rein in the insulting treatment being handed out to people like my husband by many government departments, not just put a stop to deportations.
â¢ I just love the way Amber Rudd deftly passes blame to the abstraction of âthe Home Officeâ (Rudd tells MPs: we were wrong over Windrush citizens, 17 April) rather than to the real flesh-and-blood politicians responsible for the inhumane policy in the first place â" hersel f and her predecessor, Theresa May. Civil servants donât set policy, politicians do, and it is they who should take responsibility by doing the traditional thing and resigning.
Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands
â¢ An understaffed Home Office should keep it simple, and fair. Anyone who has had a national insurance number and a tax account at HMRC for more than, say, 10 years should have indefinite leave to remain, as should their immediate families. They have contributed to our society â" and itâs easy to check, and document.
â¢ Massive congratulations on your Windrush coverage. Theresa May called the Tory party the nasty party and is making sure it stays that way. Thank heavens there is some opposition in this country.
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â¢ Read more Guardian letters â" click here to visit gu.com/lettersTopics
- Amber Rudd
- Commonwealth of Nations
- Immigration and asylum
- Theresa May
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