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Bishop says treatment of Windrush migrants has been unacceptable

Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness, centre, alongside leaders and representatives of Caribbean countries at 10 Downing Street this week (Getty Images)

Bishop Paul McAleenan has welcomed the government’s apology for challenging the residency status of the Windrush generation.

Bishop McAleenan, chair of migration policy for the bishops’ conference in England and Wales, said: “We welcome the government’s apology for the unacceptable rejection and denial of access to services for some members of the Windrush generation, whose vital contribution to the reshaping of the UK after the Second World War is hugely acknowledged.”

Prime Minister Theresa May apologised to Caribbean leaders after the residency status of individuals belonging to the Windrush generation – those arriving in the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries – had been challenged.

Many had not been issued with documentation on their arrival, and their landing cards were destroyed by the Home Office in 2010.

“Such an oversight is both extraordinary and unacceptable; a fact now recognised by the government. To deny them access to the benefits of the state they have served so well would have been truly reprehensible,” Bishop McAleenan said in his statement.

“The Windrush generation and all communities that have made meaningful contribution to this country deserve to be treated fairly and with respect.”

In her apology, Mrs May insisted the government was not “clamping down” on Commonwealth citizens. Home Secretary Amber Rudd apologised for the “appalling” way the Windrush generation had been treated. She told MPs the Home Office had “become too concerned with policy and strategy – and loses sight of the individual”.