The son of a Windrush-generation immigrant is planning to leave the UK tomorrow amid threats of deportation, despite ministers’ reassurances that no one with the right to stay in the UK will be removed, an MP has said.
Ruth Williams, 75, said she felt “betrayed” by Britain after the Home Office twice turned down applications for her 35-year-old son, Mozi Haynes, to remain in the country.
Amid rising anger over a government clampdown on Windrush-era immigrants who do not have UK paperwork, ministers assured MPs on Monday that they were not aware of any deportations and that no one would be removed from the country if they had a right to remain.
Ms Williams is understood to have cancer and said she relies heavily on her son for support.
“I feel betrayed and a second class citizen in my own country,” she said. “This makes me so sad and the Home Office must show some compassion.
“I am unwell and almost 75, I live on my own and I need my son to stay here. I need my family around me and I can’t face being alone. He has applied to the Home Office and been refused twice.”
According to his mother, Mr Haynes applied for British citizenship in 2016 but was rejected, despite Ms Williams having lived in the UK almost permanently since arriving from St Vincent and the Grenadines in 1959.
Mr Haynes said he had bought a ticket back to that country amid fears he would be deported.
He told LBC: “Every knock on the door, you think they’re coming to get you; every car that pulls up outside, you think it’s them.
“I’ve been living in this hostility – it’s the only world I know. I love Britain, its been my home for so long, I don’t really know anything else, but it is hostile.”
UK news in pictures
Mr Haynes’ case was brought to light by Labour MP David Lammy, whose office is in contact with the family.
Mr Lammy, who asked an urgent House of Commons question on Monday on the issue of Windrush immigrants, said the home secretary, Amber Rudd, should resign over the issue.
He said: “This is a national disgrace. What is going on in the Home Office makes me ashamed of our great country.
“The prime minister must act urgently to halt this deportation and all other Windrush deportations. Heads must roll over this and the home secretary and immigration minister must consider their positions.”
Mr Haynes is believed to be a constituent of Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general. Mr Grieve told The Independent he was not aware of the case until today but is looking into the matter.
On Tuesday, Theresa May apologised for the “anxiety” caused by the government clampdown. Windrush-generation immigrants were given the right to remain in the UK indefinitely but many were not issue with formal paperwork, meaning they struggle to prove their legal rights.
The issue came to light when new government rules forced people to provide paperwork in order to access free healthcare and the right to work. Many of those who have been unable to do so lost their jobs, their access to the NHS and in some cases were told they faced being deported.
On Tuesday, Theresa May apologised for the way many Windrush immigrants have been treated.
Addressing leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Ms May said: “I want to dispel any impression that my government is in some sense clamping down on Commonwealth citizens, particularly those from the Caribbean.
“I take this issue very seriously. The home secretary apologised in the House of Commons yesterday for any anxiety caused. And I want to apologise to you today. Because we are genuinely sorry for any anxiety that has been caused.”
Ms Rudd had already apologised for the “appalling” way that some Windrush immigrants had been treated, telling MPs the Home Office had “become too concerned with policy and strategy – and loses sight of the individual”.