I’ve been following and sharing this scandal since it first appeared in the Guardian in November 2017. This is the article that started it all.
‘I can’t eat or sleep’: the woman threatened with deportation after 50 years in Britain
It may have started earlier than that as I remember a 2016 Guardian article about not so secret deportation flights to Jamaica and other countries. I really hope none of the Windrush Generation ended up on those flights.
Who are the Windrush Generation? They are people from Caribbean countries that were part of the British Empire who were invited over in the 50s and 60s to increase the UK’s workforce which was rather depleted after WW2. They were considered British. This automatic Right To Remain ended in 1973. Some who came over naturalised as British
especially if they wanted or needed to leave the country and needed a passport. Other couldn’t afford to so didn’t. They were still here legally.
In 2014 the UK removed legal protection for Windrush immigrants and with other changes to employment and proof of nationality this started to create chaos. Many children were brought over on parents’ or siblings’ passports because of how passports worked in those countries at that time. Back then there was no need to have at least one but preferably four pieces of information for every year they remained in the UK and as a result they struggle to provide these resulting in this. The children of Windrush: ‘I’m here legally, but they’re asking me to prove I’m British’. Many have lost documents during the many moves their families had to make when they were children. And with GP surgery and school closures and destruction of records over a certain age it can be impossible to fulfil these new requirements.
This first hit the mainstream media in November 2017 but it has taken until mid April 2018 for the UK government to respond in any meaningful way despite Caribbean diplomats asking the UK for more compassion for its citizens back in February.
Theresa May’s office initially refused to meet with Caribbean diplomats but after all the media this weekend there has been a U-turn.
However the Home Office still has no idea how many people might have been illegally deported.
And while our government claims this leaflet telling British residents deported to Jamaica to ‘put on accent’ isn’t aimed at them, it’s hard to work out who it is aimed at. Who but the legal Windrush Generation would have been here long enough to pick up a British accent?
But despite all the promises they’re not safe yet. Someone from the Windrush Generation is due to be deported tomorrow.
Today Jamaica’s PM has urged a ‘speedy resolution’ but who know how long that will take. And it’s possibly too late for anyone who has already been illegally deported. I really hope they can return and that anyone affected by this travesty is compensated.
Why do I care so much? Because I’m a human being. This doesn’t affect me or anyone I know but it could have. My grandparents brought my mother to the UK from the Caribbean in the early 60s when she was 10. Had she not naturalised in the 70s she might be in this situation too. I couldn’t bear to lose my mother to this bureaucratic nonsense.
This needs to stop now.