The son of one of the Windrush generation today lost a High Court fight with Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Damian Gabrielle, 39, moved from St Lucia to Britain at the age of 18 and lives in Catford, south-east London. He wanted to challenge a Home Office decision to ‘refuse to regularise’ his immigration status.
However, a judge today did not give him the go-ahead to mount a judicial review. The judge, Mrs Justice Ellenbogen, based in London, concluded that Mr Gabrielle does not have an arguable case.
Arguments were considered by the judge from lawyers representing Mr Gabrielle and Ms Patel at an online hearing earlier this week. Mr Gabrielle’s lawyers said his father Alexander Prospere, arrived in the UK from St Lucia in 1961, at the age of 19.
The judge was told by Barrister Grace Brown, who led Mr Gabrielle’s legal team, that the Government’s Windrush Scheme said a child of a Commonwealth citizen parent who arrived in the UK before the age of 18 could qualify for leave to remain.
And the barrister said the position of adult children is a matter of ‘public importance’ which should be the subject of a judicial review.
She said Mr Prospere was a ‘Windrush’ victim and said he was unable to support his son’s bid to enter the UK before Mr Gabrielle turned 18 because he was not confirmed as a British citizen until 2019.
Ms Brown argued that Mr Gabrielle and Mr Prospere are victims of injustice.
But Mrs Justice Ellenbogen disagreed and said children under 18 are dependent on their parents. And she said it is not arguable that adult children are in an ‘analogous position.’
Ms Patel’s lawyers argued that adult children of the Windrush generation are in the same position as any other person, living in any country, who want to live in Britain and the judge agreed with them.
A judge today refused to give Damian Gabrielle the go-ahead to mount a judicial review. The judge, Mrs Justice Ellenbogen, based in London, concluded that Mr Gabrielle does not have an arguable case. Pictured: Jamaican immigrants arriving at Tilbury Docks in the 1940s
Mr Gabrielle said: ‘I am absolutely devastated by today’s decision.
‘Most of my adult life has been in limbo as I’ve tried my best to build a future for myself here against this uncertain backdrop.’
He added: ‘For me, the UK is my home.’
Mrs Justice Ellenbogen rejected three other judicial review applications by adult children of those who were part of the Windrush generation.
They had not argued that parents were unable to support their bids because of difficulties confirming immigration status.
Ms Patel’s (pictured) lawyers argued that adult children of the Windrush generation are in the same position as any other person, living in any country, who want to live in Britain and the judge agreed with them
Karen Doyle, a campaigner with Movement For Justice, told the Guardian that Friday’s ruling was further evidence of the Government’s failure to protect the Windrush generation and their families.
She said: ‘The damage done to the Windrush generation was not just to the individuals. It was damage done to whole families separated across borders.
‘Families who came to rebuild Britain and were subject to brutal discrimination and racism.
‘Many had to leave children behind they would otherwise have brought.
‘Reuniting and offering security to those families now in the wake of the Windrush scandal would have been putting the government’s apologies into action.
‘Yet this government continues to fail the Windrush generation and their families at every stage.
‘We are deeply disappointed in this decision but will continue to fight for the recognition and status of Windrush descendants.’
After the ruling, a solicitor representing Mr Gabrielle said that there are ‘countless others.’
But others commenting online praised the judge’s ruling and declared the result a victory for common sense.
One person remarked: ‘Shocked to see a common sense result for a change.’
Neil Eastell wrote: ‘Oh my God, is this a first? A court/judge finds in favour of the Government/Home Office. Common sense!?’
Andrew Smith added: ‘Had to read it twice, a court doing its job in accordance with the real law. Well I never.’
Others commenting online praised the judge’s ruling and declared the result a victory for common sense
Mrs Justice Ellenbogen rejected three other judicial review applications by adult children of those who were part of the Windrush generation. Pictured: The High Court
Richard Arthur, from Thompsons Solicitors, said: ‘The decision today backs the petty bureaucratic view of the Home Office and flies in the face of the stated aims of the Windrush Scheme – to right the wrongs of the past.
‘The two Windrush Schemes – for regularisation of immigration status and compensation – have rightly faced heavy criticism.
‘These schemes were supposed to ‘right the wrongs’ inflicted on the Windrush generation, including redress for their family members.
‘Instead, they are virtually impossible to access, with rigid and arbitrary rules, and perpetuate the very discrimination they were supposed to provide redress for.
‘We are extremely disappointed that the hopes of Damian Gabrielle – and countless others like him – have been dashed by this decision.’
A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘We’re pleased the court found in the department’s favour.
‘The Windrush scheme was designed to recognise the existing status and connection to the UK of members of the Windrush generation and their eligible children.
‘The home secretary and the department remain steadfast in our commitment to members of the Windrush generation.’