I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve heard briefly about the Windrush generation but I don’t properly know what it’s about. I thought that now would be the perfect opportunity to educate myself, and share what I’ve found with others who also don’t understand this subject.
The UK as a whole has a habit of denying the blatant racism that lives in this country. The story of the wind-rush generation is a prime example of the racism that is constantly trying to be covered up.
After world war 2, the British government began to encourage immigration in order to fill shortages in the market. The Windrush generation refers to the half a million people who came to the UK from the Caribbean between 1948 and 1971. It is unclear how many people are part of the Windrush generation as many people who came over in the 23-year period arrived as children, travelled on a parents passport, and never had travel documents. The British Nationality Act of 1948 gave citizenship to all people living in the United Kingdom and its colonies, and the right of entry and settlement in the UK.
In 2012, the Hostile Environment policy came into place. The policy aimed to make life as difficult as possible for immigrants living in the UK, this included the Windrush generation.
From 2013, people of the Windrush generation started to receive letters claiming that they had no right to be in the UK. From then on, they have been treated as illegal immigrants despite coming to this country as a result of our economy needing their help. As a result of this, the Windrush generation started to lose their jobs, homes, benefits and access to the NHS. Some were even placed in immigration detention, deported, or refused the right to return from abroad. The same year, there were attempts by Caribbean leaders to help with this issue. However, these attempts were ignored with a direct refusal from Downing Street to meet with the leaders. The wrongful deportation of the Windrush generation wasn’t even properly acknowledged in parliament until March 2018.
In 2018, an investigation into this scandal was carried out but was conveniently never published. In 2019, parts of the report were leaked, revealing a broken Home Office failing in its legal duty to counter racial discrimination. The leak also showed that evidence of the scandal had been actively ignored by British ministers and that they had failed to be honest with the public about the risks of their policies.
This revelation hasn’t stopped the British government from attempting to deport the Windrush generation as since this report was leaked they tried to deport yet another group of people who were born in the Caribbean but had spent most of their lives living in the UK. They have attempted to get away with this by stating that these individuals were not being deported due to them being part of the Windrush generation but because they were ‘foreign national offenders.’ As us Brits would say, that’s a load of bollocks! Some of those being deported had been held in Colnbrook and Harmondsworth detention centres and were without working mobile phone signal, leaving them unable to access legal advice.
After a court ruling against the deportation and a denied appeal from the Home Office, only 17 were deported and 25 were able to stay in the country which has become their home.
These people didn’t just come to this country for a better life, but they helped this economy. It was then thrown back in their face simply because of the colour of their skin. We owe the people who were victims of the Windrush scandal justice. Heres how you can help: