The son of a Windrush survivor has said he is “devastated” after losing a High Court battle with home secretary Priti Patel over his immigration status.
Damian Gabrielle, 39, who moved from St Lucia to Britain at the age of 18 and lives in Catford, southeast London, sought to challenge the Home Office’s refusal to regularise his status.
However, the judge, Mrs Justice Ellenbogen, disagreed on Friday and refused to give him the go-ahead to mount a judicial review, having considered arguments from the claimant’s lawyers earlier this week, and said that Mr Gabrielle does not have a viable case.
“I am absolutely devastated by today’s decision,” Mr Gabrielle said in response to the outcome.
“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. For me, the UK is my home.”
Lawyers representing Mr Gabrielle said his father, Alexander Prospere, arrived in the UK from St Lucia in 1961, aged 19.
Barrister Grace Brown, who led Mr Gabrielle’s legal team, told the judge 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.
She said the position of adult children is a matter of “public importance” which should be the subject of a judicial review.
Ms Brown said Mr Prospere was a “Windrush victim”, and argued that he was unable to support his son’s bid to enter the UK before Mr Gabrielle turned 18 because his status as a British citizen was not confirmed until 2019.
She argued that Mr Gabrielle is a victim of the injustice suffered by his father to which the judge disagreed, saying that children under 18 are dependent on their parents.
She added that it is not arguable that adult children are in an “analogous position”.
Lawyers representing Ms Patel argued that adult children of Windrush victims are in the same position as any other person, living in any country, who want to live in Britain.
The judge said she agreed with that argument and also went on to reject three other judicial review applications by adult children of members of the Windrush generation.
They had not argued that parents were unable to support their bids because of difficulties confirming immigration status.
Richard Arthur, from Thompsons Solicitors, who represents Mr Gabrielle 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.”
He added: “We are extremely disappointed that the hopes of Damian Gabrielle – and countless others like him – have been dashed by this decision.”