Prime Minister Theresa May personally apologised to Caribbean leaders yesterday after her government threatened to deport people who emigrated to Britain in the 1950s and 1960s.
At a meeting in Downing Street, May told representatives of the 12 Caribbean members of the Commonwealth that she took the treatment of the so-called Windrush generation "very seriously".
"I want to apologise to you today. Because we are genuinely sorry for any anxiety that has been caused," she told the hastily-convened gathering.
The government has faced outrage for its treatment of people who came to Britain between 1948, when the ship Windrush brought over the first group of West Indian immigrants, and the early 1970s.
They and their parents were invited to help rebuild Britain after World War II and with many of them legally British -- they were born while their home countries were still colonies -- they were given indefinite leave to remain.
But those who failed to get their papers in order are now being treated as illegal, which limits their access to work and healthcare and puts them at risk of deportation.
The row, which one MP called a "national shame", has been hugely embarrassing for the government as it coincides with this week's meeting of the 53 Commonwealth heads of government in London.