The Government has been criticised over a leaflet for people being deported to Jamaica which includes advice to “put on a Jamaican accent.”
In a “dos and don’ts” section, the 2013 pamphlet tells deportees to “try to be ‘Jamaican’, use local accents and dialect” and notes that “overseas accents can attract unwanted attention”.
David Lammy, the Labour MP who has led rebukes to the Home Office over the Windrush crisis, said it was “hard to believe this document was written and published”.
“The fact that the Government feels this is an appropriate way to treat the ancestors of those Caribbean pioneers who were invited to Britain as citizens tells its own sad story about the treatment of immigrants in our country,” he tweeted.
My Lammy added: “This document harks back to ‘repatriation’ campaigns. This document was published when Theresa May was Home Secretary, promoting her hostile environments policy – the starting point for the injustices that we are seeing writ large for the Windrush generation.
“How exactly can someone pretend to ‘be Jamaican’ when they are British and have lived here all their lives?” he added.
The Home Office told the Standard the guide, called Coming Home to Jamaica, was put together with the help of charities and NGOs.
A spokeswoman added that he had “nothing to do with people from the Windrush generation, who are in the UK legally.”
The guide was still on the Government’s website at the time of writing.
Responding to an urgent question from Mr Lammy, Ms Rudd announced the creation of a new Home Office task force to speed up the regularisation of the status of people who arrived in the UK legally between 1948 and 1971.
It came after stories emerged in the Guardian of Windrush children, now adults who have lived in the UK for several decades, were threatened with deportation because they never obtained proof of their legal status.
Paulette Wilson, a former cook at the House of Commons restaurant, arrived in Wolverhampton in 1968 from Jamaica aged 10. She was taken to the notorious Yarl’s Wood detention centre last October after failing to prove her right to remain.
The “dos and don’ts” section of the Coming Home leaflet was written by Jamaican NGO the National Organisation of Deported Migrants, said a spokeswoman for the Home Office.
She added: “This document has nothing to do with people from the Windrush generation, who are in the UK legally. As the Home Secretary has made clear, the Home Office has set up a dedicated team to help people from that group to get the right paperwork to confirm their status in the UK.
“This particular document was intended to provide advice for people who have been in the UK illegally and are returning to Jamaica either voluntarily or through deportation.”