Windrushers gain justice from British Parliament

Prior to the 1971 Immigration Act, Commonwealth citizens were able to freely move about from one Commonwealth country to another.

Prior to the 1971 Immigration Act, Commonwealth citizens were able to freely move about from one Commonwealth country to another.

Britons born in Commonwealth countries without proper documentation were granted some relief on the status of their citizenship, when Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes admitted that some individuals had been “wrongly deported.”

The admission followed a letter from 140 Members of Parliament raising concerns about the Windrush generation, demanding “an immediate and effective response to the growing crisis facing British residents.”

The letter was released after individuals from the Windrush generation, which is a generation of individuals who legally moved from Commonwealth countries to the United Kingdom before 1971, were threatened with wrongful deportation in the United Kingdom after the Home Office failed to provide or find documentation for those who arrived as children.

Many of these individuals, according to the letter, no longer have their parents’ documentation and, therefore, could not prove they were residents of the UK. In a statement to ITV News, Nokes admitted that some individuals from the Windrush generation had been wrongly deported.

“I don’t know the numbers, but what I am determined to do going forward is to say we will have no more of this … There have been some horrendous situations which as a minister have appalled me,” she said.

Prior to the 1971 Immigration Act, Commonwealth citizens were able to freely move about from one Commonwealth country to another, however, when the act was put in place, they were no longer able to move freely but were able to remain in the UK. Many Windrushers who arrived as children relied on their parents’ documentation as a proof of residency.

The letter, which consisted of signatures from MPs from six different political parties, described the contributions that individuals from the Windrush generation have made to the United Kingdom, calling them “hardworking people who helped shape modern Britain and contributed hugely to so many aspects of life.”

It also explained that Windrushers are hesitant to approach the Home Office for documentation because of possible “detainment, stripping of their rights, separation from their families and removal to countries of which they have no memory and in which they have no remaining family members.”

Member of Parliament David Lammy, who headed the letter, posted it on Twitter and wrote, “What is going on is grotesque, immoral and inhumane. It is a stain on our nation’s conscience and the PM must act urgently to right this historic wrong.”

Prime Minister Theresa May will discuss immigration problems faced by those in the Windrush generations with 12 different Caribbean countries.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Windrushers’ arrival.

Arielle Schwartz

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