Windrush Generation - Attacked by State Sponsored Racism
People who have lived in Britain nearly all their lives have lost their jobs, been made homeless, deprived of benefits, denied medical treatment for cancer, forbidden to visit their dying mother in the Caribbean, imprisoned in detention centres and threatened with deportation.
All the people who have been reported as suffering these assaults on their rights have been people of colour, mainly from the Caribbean. This is a racist onslaught.
Who is responsible? The wretched Home Secretary Amber Rudd is being used by Theresa May as a human shield. Rudd informed the PM privately that she was determined to continue May’s policy even more harshly. Each excuse from one ends up blaming the other. In reality both should resign for this shameful episode. When the truth finally came out, Rudd blamed her civil servants instead of taking responsibility for the actions of her department.
Theresa May was Rudd’s predecessor at the Home office for six long years. Over this period May enforced ‘a hostile environment’ for illegal immigrants. More than 50,000 people who have been in Britain for decades entirely legally, working hard, paying taxes, bringing up children and contributing to the community, have been caught in the crossfire. Officials of the UK Visas and Immigration under May’s direction have become attack dogs, assuming every victim of their attentions is a liar. Home Office officials have shown incompetence and malice in equal parts. The Chief Inspector of UK Visas and Immigration has found 150 boxes of unopened post, representing 100,000 letters, in one office room alone.
Those the officials pick on have the onus of proof thrust upon them. They have to provide copious documentation going back decades to prove they have been here legally all along. Apparently National Insurance and work records (such as P60s and P45s) won’t do. Isn’t the fact that their potential victim has lost their passport or it has expired show that they’ve been in the UK all the time? Not for the attack dogs. They were all guilty till proven innocent.
The opportunity this provides such officials for bullying is shown by the case of Nancy Motsamai, who collapsed at Heathrow while they were trying to deport her. She died a few days later. “An immigration official at the airport accused Nancy of faking her collapse to avoid being put on a plane,” her husband said. “He told Nancy that he would handcuff her hands and feet and make her walk to the plane like a penguin, and that he would put her onto the plane even if he had to carry her.”
The Windrush generation from 1948 to 1971 were all granted indefinite leave to remain, stamped on their passports as they arrived. Most of the known victims came here as children. The Caribbean islands they came from were for the most part British colonies at this time. Why should anyone keep a passport fifty years later after it has expired, when many were too low-paid to fly back to the Caribbean for a visit? The landing cards that could have proved they were here legally were destroyed under Theresa May’s watch in 2010.
The problem was compounded by the 2014 Immigration Act which requires status checks on migrants by the DVLA, the NHS, banks and landlords. In effect these bodies have been turned into border guards. This is why Albert Thompson was denied cancer treatment by his local hospital unless he coughed up an impossible £54,000. Most Labour MPs to their shame were whipped into abstaining in the vote on the Immigration Act, an obvious ploy to stir up racism. Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbot and John McDonnell had the courage to vote against it. Corbyn predicted that the 2014 Act would create a layer of stateless people. That’s exactly what happened.
How many have already been deported? The Home office won’t say. Theresa May has belatedly offered compensation to her victims. What compensation can there be for being treated like a criminal in a country you call home? Albert Thompson’s cancer treatment is still uncertain, despite belated promises to reverse the cruel policy. The Tories have now set up a helpline to aid the victims of their own policies. The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants comments, “The helpline doesn’t work, doesn’t show any sensitivity or knowledge.”
This issue will not go away. The nearly three million EU citizens will be looking in alarm at the shabby way the Windrush generation have been treated. What are Theresa May’s promises likely to be worth after Brexit?
The Tories are also pressing ahead with plans to supervise the checking of voter identity against the possibility of electoral fraud. Electoral fraud is incredibility rare in this country. There was only one conviction for it in 2017. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has already noted that these checks will discriminate against ethnic minorities who, like the Windrush generation, are less likely to have the right documentation. Limitations on voter rights in the USA have already been proven to be racist in their effect. And, of course, people from ethnic minorities are more likely to vote Labour.
Insincere apologies won’t do. The regime of a ‘hostile environment’ is institutional racism, as Dawn Butler stated. It’s still there. The myth of scrounging migrants has been used by the Tories to divide working class people. Don’t listen to them!
Jeremy Corbyn was right when he said, “This week, something rotten at the heart of government has come to the surface. The Windrush scandal has exposed how British citizens who came to our country to rebuild it after the war have faced deportation because they couldn’t clear the deliberately unreachable bar set by Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ for migrants...People’s lives ripped apart because of the personal decisions and actions of Theresa May and her government.”