#Windrush #WindrushDay thread. /1
The way the #Windrush generation were treated is one of the most shameful and disgraceful things that this country has done to her own citizens. /2
A generation of people who came to rebuild Britain after the war should have been thanked for their contributions. Instead, they and their children were treated like criminals and put into hardship and terrible conditions by both incompetence and hostility. /3
Today is #WindrushDay so I thought I'd post a thread about the background to this. This cold historical thread doesn't quite cover the awfulness of people's individual stories, so I will include some links at the end. Please be sure to correct me if I've made any errors. /4
On 22nd June 1948, the ship Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks. Approximately 500 passengers from Jamaica and other Carribean Islands arrived in the UK, responding to Britain's post war drive to recruit labour from the Commonwealth in state run services. /5
Many were ex-servicemen who had served during the war. When they came here they worked in a variety of jobs, especially in the NHS and the transport service. /6
Between 1948 and 1971, approximately 500,000 people moved from the Carribean to Britain. The influx stopped in 1971 when Commwealth citizens living in the UK were given indefinite leave to remain. /7
The people that arrived from 1948-1971 have been labelled the #Windrush generation. /8
The Windrush generation - adults, and their children who came with them - had a legal right to come to the UK but were not given any documents to show this. /9
The Home Office did not keep a record of people being granted leave to remain, and in 2010, the Home Office destroyed the landing cards belonging to Windrush migrant as part of a clean up of paper records. /10
In 2012, changes to immigration law made it much more difficult for people to prove their status in the UK, including a complicated application process and raised fees. /11
Windrush generation residents were treated as illegal immigrants. Some were told to leave the UK at once. People lost their jobs, or homes, had their benefits cut off, and some were refused medical care. /12
Some were placed in detention centres awaiting deportation, and some refused the right to return to the UK if they were abroad. These changes to immigration policy have been labelled the "hostile environment policy", and would continue for several more years. /13
In January 2018, the Home Affairs Select Committee issued a report about the hostile environment policy which said that the policies were unclear and that errors were being made in deportations. /14
The report stated that there was government indifference towards an issue of "high public interest". A month before this was published, MPs, campaign groups and academics had written a letter to Amber Rudd (the Home Secretary), asking for the policy to be halted. /15
In March 2018, MPs began to ask questions in Parliament regarding individual Windrush cases. Rudd was unable to answer David Lammy regarding how many had been denied medical care, lost jobs or homes, or had been deported. Rudd faced increasing calls to resign. /16
In April 2018, Downing Street rejected a formal request from 12 Caribbean countries to discuss the issues. Also in April, Rudd denied the existence of deportation targets to the Home Affairs select committee. /17
A leaked memo published by the Guardian showed that the department had set "a target of achieving 12,800 enforced returns in 2017–18" and that they had exceeded this. Rudd claimed she hadn't seen it. /18
Later in the month, the Guardian published a letter from Rudd to PM Theresa May in which she had written of "ambitious but deliverable" targets for deportation. Later that day, Rudd resigned. /19
Her successor, Sajid Javid promised that the government would "do right by the Windrush generation". /20
He told the Home Affairs Select Committee that he had not been able to establish how many people had been wrongfully detained, and that 63 people had been identified as having been wrongfully deported. By the end of May 2018, only 3 people had been contacted. /21
In May 2018, the Labour party introduced a motion to force the government to release documents involving the handling of Windrush cases. The motion was defeated. /22
By June, the Windrush hotline had recorded 19,000 calls. At the end of June, the Human Rights Select committee published a report showing that there had been systemic failures and urged the Home Secretary to take action against human rights violations. /23
Also in June 2018, the Home Office reported that it had "mistakenly detained" 850 people between 2012 and 2017. /24
In July 2018, the Home Affairs Select Committee published a report stating that this scandal would simply be repeated if the Home Office culture was not completely overhauled. /25
In December 2018, the National Audit Office said that the Home Office had "failed to protect [the] rights to live, work and access services" had ignored warnings leading up to this, and had still not adequately addressed the problems. /26
In February 2019, it was revealed that deportations, which had paused in 2018 due to public outcry, would be resumed. This led to renewed anger. /27
Saajid Jaavid claimed that all the people that were due to be reported were serious criminals. This was false. /28
Between 2018 and 2020, the government made promises about citizenship and compensation, which failed to materialise. For example, a hardship scheme set up in December 2018 had only paid out any money to one applicant by February 2019. /29
Only 60 people have received compensation, £360,000 from a fund which was expected to pay out over £200m. People who have applied for compensation are not able to work or claim benefits, and many are living in appalling circumstances. /30
By April 2020, the Windrush taskforce still had 3,720 outstanding cases. 24 people had died before they could be contacted. Others who had been deported could not be traced, or officials refused to trace them. /31
In June 2020, the EHRC announced that it will investigate whether the Home Office breached equalities law with the hostile environment policy. /32
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