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Wednesday, 06 June 2018

Javid to face grilling over whether members of Windrush generation were unlawfully detained

Written by Sam Blewett

Home Secretary Sajid Javid will be grilled by MPs over whether members of the Windrush generation were unlawfully detained.

Mr Javid is to appear before the human rights parliamentary committee on Wednesday to explain how his department is protecting those in the immigration detention system.

He was invited by the committee's chairman, Labour MP Harriet Harman, who said she is "most concerned" by allegations that people from the Windrush generation were held illegally.

Mr Javid, who replaced Amber Rudd when she resigned over the scandal, has signalled a softer approach to immigration at the Home Office and said he would review Theresa May's "hostile environment" policy.

He said in a letter to the committee that "intensive work" was under way to determine how many Windrush people were deported after more than 60 were said to have been wrongly removed.

Ministers have faced intense scrutiny over the generation, named after a ship that brought migrants from the Caribbean to the UK in 1948.

Commonwealth citizens who arrived before 1973 were given automatic, indefinite leave but some have struggled to prove they are lawful residents, with thousands of landing card slips recording their arrival being destroyed by the Home Office in 2009.

Despite living legally in the UK for decades, some have lost jobs, been denied NHS treatment, benefits and pensions and threatened with deportation.

Court challenge over hostile Right To Rent policy

Campaigners are launching High Court action against the Home Secretary over controversial rules that require landlords to establish tenants or lodgers have a right to be in the country.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) is asking for a judicial review of Right To Rent, which forms part of the "hostile environment" policies introduced under Theresa May's tenure at the Home Office.

First trialled in the West Midlands before being introduced across England from February 2016, the crackdown has come under sharp focus in the wake of the Windrush scandal.

The approach was designed to deny illegal immigrants access to work, accommodation and other services in anticipation that this would encourage individuals to leave the country voluntarily.

After the scandal emerged, the Home Office issued guidance to landlords to clarify that prospective tenants who have lived in the UK permanently since before 1973, and who have not been away for long periods in the last 30 years, have the right to rent property.

Press Association analysis of official data on Right To Rent shows the number and total value of fines increased for five consecutive quarters before falling from the middle of last year.

The most recent figures show 39 penalties with a total value of £23,500 were issued from January to March 2018.

The number of fines in the first three months of this year was the lowest since the final quarter of 2016, when 36 were issued.

Earlier this year a watchdog concluded that Right To Rent had "yet to demonstrate its worth as a tool to encourage immigration compliance".

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has signalled there could be a softer approach to immigration policy under his leadership at the department.

The JCWI will apply for permission to challenge the Right To Rent scheme at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Joe Giddens / PA Wire.