Britain will compensate some Caribbean immigrants who arrived in Britain in the decades after World War Two, after they and their children were recently wrongly labeled as illegal immigrants, interior minister Amber Rudd said on Monday.
Speaking in a heated Commons debate on the Home Office's treatment of the Windrush generation, the Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East urged Home Secretary Amber Rudd to do more to address the "legitimate grievances" of migrants from the Commonwealth.
She said: "I'm personally committed to tackling illegal migration because I have seen in this job the awful impact has on some of the most vulnerable in our society".
The SNP's Joanna Cherry branded Ms Rudd "a human shield" to "protect the Prime Minister from repugnant policies".
In response the Home Secretary said: "He is right that we need to make sure that systems are put in place so that, should this happen again, the Home Office spots it sooner than it did in this case".
She declared that "anyone from the Windrush who wants to become a British citizen will now be able to do so".
Instead, she said individuals would be assigned a case worker who would decide on nationality, and the burden of proof has been shifted so the government would take a more lenient approach.
A dedicated Windrush team has successfully resolved nine cases and made 84 appointments to issue documents.
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She said "ultimately buck stops" with Rudd but that "she is behaving as if it is a shock to her that officials are implementing regulations in the way she intended them to be implemented".
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott hit back at Rudd, saying it was the 2014 Immigration Act that had removed protection for the Windrush Generation.
In a statement to MPs following days of damaging headlines and condemnation of the government 's treatment of Windrush families, Rudd also promised a speedy compensation process for those who had suffered hardship as a result of the immigration process. "In particular I will be reallocating £10m (including from low-level crime and intelligence) with the aim of increasing the number of enforced removals by more than 10 per cent over the next few years".
She added: "An apology is the first step in righting the wrongs". "None of this can undo the pain already endured, but I hope it demonstrates the government's commitment to put these wrongs right going forward".
"It's important that the compensation is not a token sum of money but accurately reflects the actual costs and the damage to family life caused by this policy", she said.
Reflecting on her families' personal experience, she said: "This was a generation with unparalleled commitment to this country, unparalleled pride in being British, unparalleled commitment to hard work and contributing to society".
But she was met by jeers from the Opposition benches when she tried to spread responsibility beyond this government's "hostile environment" immigration policy.
He called on ministers to help others who also made their life in the United Kingdom after World War Two but who might not get equal treatment.
"They are from countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda. It is unfair. They were born under Empire", Lammy added.