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U.K. destroyed immigration documents, then sent deportation notices

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Her problem started when she lost her passport — stamped with the evidence she needed to prove she was in the country legally — and received a deportation notice by mail in 2013. Then came relentless phone calls telling her she had to leave.

“This was just out of the blue,” she said. “It was horrible.”

Since then, she has provided birth and death certificates for her British family and her degree certificate in her attempt to prove her status.

Boothe eventually received a short-term residency permit in 2015, and was able to get a job caring for elderly and sick people, but that has since expired.

It’s also affected her family. Despite her children being British citizens, they have struggled to get passports. She also says she hasn’t been able to able to gain access to taxpayer-funded health care.

The scandal has generated fury across the U.K. Lammy, the lawmaker, whose parents came from the former British colony of Guyana, organized a letter to the prime minister from more than 140 fellow members of Parliament expressing their concern.

His impassioned speech to Parliament last Tuesday, in which he slammed May’s successor as home secretary, Amber Rudd, was widely shared on social media. In it, he described a “day of national shame.”

Lammy told NBC News he sees parallels with President Donald Trump’s move to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

“It’s exactly the same rhetoric that we’ve seen from Theresa May pandering to a new far-right temperament than has grown up in Britain,” he said. “The system has become infected.”

For the government’s part, Rudd issued an apology for the scandal last week.

May later apologized to Caribbean leaders and established a task force, which as of Saturday had investigated more than 280 cases. She also said the government would compensate those affected.

On Monday, Rudd told Parliament that 4,200 cases out of a total of 8,000 had been reviewed so far. She said no one had been found to have been wrongly deported, although she described some of the cases as “harrowing.”

Rudd said the fees of obtaining citizenship would be waived for anyone affected. Lammy responded by saying the Windrush generation were “citizens when we invited them 70 years ago.”

And the issue is unlikely to go away for the government.

Of the more than 500,000 former colonial subjects who arrived before a 1971 law change, 57,000 are thought to be especially vulnerable because they never officially took steps to formalize their immigration status, according to Oxford University’s Migration Observatory.

And with negotiations over Britain’s exit from the European Union ongoing, many of the 27 remaining E.U. states will be concerned that their citizens who are legally in the U.K. don’t find themselves in a similar predicament.

“Of course they’re looking at the Windrush generation, who were given the same promises 70 years ago, who are now being treated in such a cruel and inhumane way,” Lammy said. “I do think it will affect the way our European partners negotiate with us on this issue.”

Even if a solution to her case is found, Boothe said something has changed about her relationship with the country that has been home for decades.

“I feel more than betrayed,” she told NBC News’ British partner ITV News. “Our parents were invited here. … We’ve done what we have to do — build up the country — it’s like they want to say, ‘We don’t want you.’”

Article Source : https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/britain-s-windrush-generation-threatened-deportation-n867731?cid=public-rss_20180424