More than 60 Windrush citizens could have been removed or deported from the UK, the home secretary has said.
Sajid Javid told the Home Affairs Select Committee there were 63 cases where people who entered the UK before 1973 could have been wrongly removed or deported.
He stressed that it was not a final number at this point and could change because the work on the records was still ongoing.
Mr Javid told MPs on Tuesday that officials had reviewed the records of 8,000 Caribbean nationals who had been removed or deported since 2002, and found that 63 of them may have been members of the Windrush generation.
“The department has been going back and checking its records from 2002 onwards looking at all removals and deportations of Caribbean nationals aged over 45, meaning they could have potentially benefited from the 1971 Act,” he told MPs.
“So far, we have found 63 cases where individuals could have entered the UK before 1973.“
Of the 63 cases, Mr Javid said 32 were foreign national offenders and 31 were administrative removals – of which he said all but one were voluntary removals, meaning they left because they received letters saying they must leave.
The home secretary’s admission comes a week after immigration minister Caroline Nokes told the same committee she was not aware of any wrongful deportations of Windrush immigrants.
Moments later, Home Office official Hugh Ind told MPs the figure was ”up to five”.
Mr Ind also admitted during his evidence that about £3.3m was paid out last year in compensation for detentions later ruled unlawful in the courts, and acknowledged that there was a “deep problem” with wrongful immigration detentions.
When quizzed on whether Windrush citizens had been wrongly detained during the hearing on Tuesday, Mr Javid could not provide an answer, saying: “I don’t know how many people from Windrush have been wrongly detained.
My priority is to know whether people have been wrongly been deported.”
The Home Office’s helpline has received at least 100 calls from the Caribbean nationals concerned that they’ve been wrongly told to leave.
Overall, it has taken more than 11,500 calls, of which 4,482 were identified as possible Windrush cases and referred to taskforce.