Since 1948, the mass exodus of Afro-Caribbean peoples to the United Kingdom occurred. Due to the casualties of war, more inhabitants of the Caribbean were encouraged to migrate to countries under the British jurisdiction. Out of this was born the Windrush generation.
They were named Windrush in commemoration of the Empire Windrush, the ship that transported them to the UK.
The immigrants were to serve as a buffer for the loss of life during World War II. The British Nationality 1948 enabled British citizenship to all individuals living in the UK and its colonies.
The 1971 Immigration Act gave citizens of the Windrush generation permission to stay in the UK indefinitely. Descendants were granted the right to emigrate to the UK as long as they acquired a work permit and could prove a parent or grandparent was born in the UK. There was no record kept of how many individuals came and settled.
Now, some who arrived on the behalf of their parent, siblings, or grandparent’s passports are being told that they aren’t legal residents of the UK.
In 2012, new rules were imposed by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May when she was the Home Secretary. May formed the new laws as a tactic to ensure only citizens could access the National Health Service and the welfare program, as reported by BBC.
Scores of citizens have lost their jobs and health insurance despite paying taxes. In addition, they are being threatened with deportation, The Guardian documents.
“This has resulted in some people, through no fault of their own, now needing to be able to evidence their immigration status,” May explained on Tuesday to foreign ministers and officials of the 12 Commonwealths in Downing Street.
“Those who arrived from the Caribbean before 1973 and lived here permanently without significant periods of time away in the last 30 years have the right to remain in the UK,” May emphasized. She also apologized for the circumstances that occurred.
May stated that a task force was formed whose sole purpose is to assist those affected. Their immigration status would be fixed within two weeks without any cost to them she iterated.
MP David Lammy earlier expressed his dismay at the situation, “This is a national disgrace. What is going on in the Home Office makes me ashamed of our great country.”
Theresa May promised a hostile environment and now British citizens are being deported and stripped of their rights by the Home Office. This is not an accident. This is their policy. This is what happens when you pander to far-right anti-immigrant rhetoric pic.twitter.com/gxqoSErU3o
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) April 16, 2018
“The prime minister must act urgently to halt this deportation and all other Windrush deportations. Heads must roll over this and the home secretary and immigration minister must consider their positions,” Lammy concluded.
The U-turn by the government followed an outcry and a letter signed by 140 MPs against the policy.