Free Press Journal

UK faces outcry over treatment of ex-child immigrants


London : A simmering dispute over Britain’s treatment of people who came to the country as children decades ago has erupted just as the country prepares to host leaders from the 53-nation Commonwealth.

Britain had wanted to use this week’s summit in London of the alliance of the UK and its former colonies to help Britain bolster trade and diplomatic ties around the world after it leaves the European Union next year.  But trade topics are being overshadowed by anger over what some in the Commonwealth see as the UK’s shabby treatment of residents of Caribbean origin.British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said Monday that she would meet with her Caribbean counterparts in London for the Commonwealth summit to discuss the situation of long-term U.K. residents who say they have been threatened with deportation to their countries of birth.

Members of the “Windrush generation” – named for the ship Empire Windrush, which brought the first big group of post-war Caribbean immigrants to Britain in 1948 – came from what were then British colonies or newly independent states and had an automatic right to settle in the UK, reports PTI. But some from that generation, now ageing and long-times residents in Britain, say they have been denied medical treatment or threatened with deportation because they can’t produce papers to prove it. The British government has taken an increasingly tough line on immigration, which has increased dramatically over the last 10 or 15 years, largely as result of people moving to the U.K. from other EU countries.

A desire to control immigration was a major factor for many who voted in 2016 for Britain to leave the bloc.