On 26th April 2018 the House of Lords heard the repeat of a Government answer to an urgent question on immigration removal targets. The Bishop of Norwich Rt Revd Graham James, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, yesterday there was a meeting here in Westminster of parliamentarians and representatives of the Church of England and of the black majority churches about the ongoing problems of the Windrush generation, some of which have been made more acute by the controversy over removal targets. From that meeting, one issue that arose was that those contacting the helpline have not had a positive experience. What training has been given to those responding to people who call the helpline? Secondly, there is a hesitation among some to contact the helpline because they fear they will be targeted for removal if they do.
Thirdly, I should be very grateful if the Minister said what is being done to resource churches, which may well be the best place for information to reach those whom the Government want to reach. Many of the Windrush generation and of those who feel themselves to be targets are members of church congregations. I hope that the Government might welcome a partner in trying to reach some of those who are most affected by this.
Baroness Williams of Trafford: The right reverend Prelate makes a series of very good points. The Home Office has been very proactive in reaching out to the various organisations that we think might have a significant congregation of the Windrush generation—not only churches but other places.
As for people hesitating to make contact in case they are targeted for removal, I think the Home Secretary made it absolutely clear that the purpose of people contacting the helpline was not for immigration enforcement but so that Home Office officials could actually help them. On training, these people are incredibly experienced case workers; they are not out to take enforcement action—the Home Secretary has made that absolutely clear. However, if the right reverend Prelate has names of people who feel they have not had a positive reception or experience, I would be most grateful if they could be passed on to me.
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