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MPs call for Home Office reform on immigration after Windrush scandal

By Andrew Woodcock

A committee of MPs has demanded "root and branch reform" of the Home Office's culture, policies and approach to immigration following the Windrush scandal.

A report by the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee questioned if the "hostile environment" approach promoted by Theresa May as Home Secretary should be allowed to continue in its current form.

It blamed the "appalling" treatment of long-standing UK residents of Caribbean heritage on political decisions which created an environment in which they were treated with suspicion and scepticism.

And it warned that, unless lessons are learnt, the Home Office may repeat the same mistakes with the three million EU nationals resident in the UK who are being required to take on a new migrant status following Brexit.

Some 8,000 people who arrived in the UK as long ago as the 1950s have now contacted the Home Office's Windrush task force, with more than 2,000 receiving documents confirming their right to stay in Britain.

But the committee said it was "unacceptable" that the government was still unable to say how many people were unlawfully detained, lost their jobs or were denied access to healthcare or other services.

The report called for an immediate re-evaluation of the "hostile environment", which tries to deter illegal migrants by requiring people to prove their right to be in the UK in order to access work, healthcare and housing.

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