A new report by the British parliament's Home Affairs Committee has blasted the government's treatment of the so-called Windrush generation - immigrants who came to the UK from Commonwealth countries after the World War II and before 1973 - saying they have been "denied their rights."
The report says people were treated as if they were in the country illegally, despite being legal residents for decades. Many people lost their jobs, their homes, and access to pensions, social security and health care because of this unfair treatment, the committee found.
The report concludes that the situation arose when members of the Windrush generation were "caught up by a series of different policy, cultural and organisational changes in the Home Office" - changes that have led to the ministry's operations becoming increasingly "rigid and rules-based."
In addition, the report goes on, members of the Windrush generation were "made to follow processes that appear designed to set them up to fail, while at the same time vital avenues for support such as legal aid and the right of appeal had been removed." They were also entangled by policies designed to target people who were in the country illegally, the committee said.
The report recommends that the government investigate the reasons why the system failed the Windrush generation to ensure that a similar crisis can be averted in the future: "The Home Office must learn lessons from the Windrush scandal, to ensure no-one else living in the UK has to go through the same mistreatment, whether now or in the future."