Windrush Scandal Culture Continues in Home Office

A recent detailed examination of 1,800 asylum seekers has brought to light a flawed immigration system. According to the Guardian, Freedom From Torture  have seen the draft of the WINDRUSH LESSONS LEARNED REVIEW and have suggested that ‘the procedures that led to the suffering of the windrush generation are still causing problems in other situations.’

 The report dubbed lessons not learned brings out into the open the home office’s flawed credibility assessments. The report further goes on to state that an unlawful and an unrealistic evidential burden is placed on the applicants with the added attitude of incredulity whilst processing asylum applications. The system put in place is failing regardless of little progress devastating families along the way. 

 Lessons not learned makes a series of targeted recommendations to transform the inhumane and inefficient asylum determination system. But for this to succeed the government must hit the reset button on the Home Office, states FFT. However for this change to take place the government must rid itself of its toxic narrative over immigration. 

 Only last month the Guardian stated Home Office workers themselves have experienced rising levels of discrimination in the workplace. The findings concluded that the home office ministers failed to address the systemic and cultural problems within the department. One in 5 Immigration Enforcement employees had personally experienced discrimination at work. When Home Office employees face discrimination at work what chance does an applicant who has fled violence have in receiving justice from the Home Office. 

 The guardian’s stories on a few applicants are just a few out of many that have been tainted with the same brush classing the applicants evidence as dubious – and the experiences most of them endured as far-fetched. The home office’s reasons for refusals on many cases have left applicants baffled and broken. For example three different asylum seekers (unknown to each other) who fled violence and persecution from Sri Lanka were refused on the basis that it was safe for them to be deported back to Iran. Note that none of the three applicants have ever set foot in Iran in the past. 

 Another applicant mentions the birth of his child to which the home office acknowledged –but six months later the  Home Office denied any acknowledgment. Many cases have gone to tribunals and it is only during that time the applicants find out there have been no caseworkers or case owners assigned to the applications. The staggering amount of mistakes made are not just rare accidents  it reeks from how home office is rooted in racist, capitalist policies.

The Guardian paints another horror story of a woman who had fled from a life of torture. Her scars were consistent with her account of torture after it was medically examined. However, the Home Office rejected her claim stating that the doctor had not personally witnessed the torture herself, therefore, the evidence was not reliable. 

 Two Amnesty International reports -both of them ten years apart- showed the alarming truth of the Home Office’s prevalent culture in rejecting applications on believability grounds without providing adequate reasons as to why there was a lack of credibility. A Freedom From Torture 2016 report states that home office has dismissed evidence in 84% of the cases. It had analyzed with the home office select committee’s findings where there have been repeated mishandling of evidence in torture and LGBT asylum claims.

 The Home Office has repeatedly denied the existence of a culture of disbelief, even though the report suggests otherwise. The report goes on ‘arguably that unwillingness to reflect is itself part of the problem’. In other words, the home office’s complete state of denial in its poor decision-making skills, coupled with the culture of disbelief and repeated mishandling of evidence has had a devastating impact leading to life or death scenarios for many. There are many genuine refugees and asylum seekers stuck in limbo hoping that somehow positive decision will be made soon so that they can start to have a normal life.

 Despite some rhetorics the government had made no effort to change the wrong culture that is deep rooted within the system. The right-wing government will not make any effort to improve, instead they will continue with the cuts making life miserable for the Home office workers and refugee immigrants. Tamil solidarity demands a full-scale inquiry into all the wrongdoings of the home office. All rejected and pending cases should be reviewed immediately. All detention centers must be closed. Everyone should have a right to jobs. Government should immediately stop all cuts and make investment in public services to improve the lives of all workers.