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Bishop 'horrified' at government's treatment of windrush generation

Tue 17 Apr 2018
By Cara Bentley

The Bishop of Southwark has called on the government to end the fear of deportation for those who settled before 1971.

There has been confusion this week after it was revealed that many who arrived in the UK, from mostly Caribbean countries, after the second world war are worried about being able to prove their legal status as citizens and therefore remain in the country.

A number of bishops have encouraged people to sign a petition which asks the Government to secure 'immigration amnesty' and ensure the burden of proof lies with the Home Office.

One, the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Rev Christopher Chessun, has called on the Government to introduce a rule which presumes a person in such a case is a legal citizen unless proved otherwise.

Christopher Chessun told Premier: "I was really horrified when I learnt that many, much valued members of our community, our churches, who have made a major contribution to the life of this nation, are now suffering because they cannot prove and provide documentation to show their right to stay in this country."

Bishop Christopher explained that he wants the Government to change its policy, saying there should be: "a right of presumption… that people have a right of indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom unless the Home Office has evidence for the contrary."

Speaking of how his faith contributes to his passion about this issue he said: "It's very important that we understand, as a country which has been built on Christian values, that every person…is valued, has dignity, has rights and should be respected."

He added: "The very sad thing is that the consequence of this policy has been to single-out and target people who are now suffering, having regarded themselves as upstanding, good members of the community."

"We regard this as a scandal that needs to be remedied."

The Cabinet Office minister David Lidington said that the Home Office was still not aware of any cases where Windrush generation Britons had been deported.

However, there had been confusion on Monday, after immigration minister Caroline Nokes appeared to suggest that some individuals may already have been deported in error.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd later told MPs she was not aware of any specific cases.

Listen to Premier's Cara Bentley speaking to Bishop Christopher here:

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