By Phillipa Anamaoh-

Many members of the Windrush generation have reportedly been mistakenly deported back to the Caribbean as they lack the important documentation to confirm their status as UK citizens.

Prime Minister Theresa May turned down a request from Leaders of the Commonwealth to discuss the cases of the Windrush generation.

Home Office Minister Caroline Nokes apologised for the “error” the British government has made. Today in an interview with ITV news she stated,

“These are people who we welcomed here in the 50’s and 60’s and it’s very important to me that we correct any error and send a message of reassurance to people who are here. We want to get this right for them.”

The Windrush generation– a group of 492 migrants travelled aboard the ship HMT Empire Windrush and arrived in the UK in 1948 and were initially a group of 49 Due to economic and financial loss during the Second World War, the British Government encouraged mass immigration from Commonwealth countries in African and the Caribbean to make up for the gaps in the labour market. Under the British Nationality Act of 1948, all residents of the Commonwealth and British Empire countries were given full rights of entry and settlement in Britain. Lured by cheap travel tickets and industrial vacancies within the NHS and the British Rail many Afro-Caribbean’s seized the opportunity to seek a better life.

Yet many early African-Caribbean immigrants faced extreme racism, intolerance, discrimination and prejudice to the point where both housing and employment were denied to them on the basis of their skin colour. These abominable outlooks led to an eruption of riots in Birmingham, Nottingham and London, bringing the infamous Notting Hill race riots of 1958.

This pathogen of injustice and immorality has now come full circle, not from mindless youths or old-fashioned xenophobes but from our own government. Long-serving members of our society, the majority of whom are now in retirement and have served and contributed to this country for almost half a decade are being denied citizenship and the basic right to healthcare.

One tragic example of Windrush citizens being denied basic civil rights lies in the story of 63-year-old Albert Thompson (anonymous name), a Jamaican-born retiree from London who is currently suffering prostate cancer. Back in March, Thompson had been denied radiotherapy treatment under the NHS and was asked to fork out a staggering £54,000 upfront for further treatment. This was due to Thompson not being able to legally prove his UK citizenship since throughout his forty-four years of paying taxes to the British Government, he was never granted a UK Passport. In an interview with the Guardian, he stated,

“I’ve been to the immigration office to try to see if they could obtain some paperwork so I could obtain a passport and they reckon they couldn’t find any trace of me at all”

According to the immigration records, Thompson does not even exist. The Work and Pensions department had no record of Thompson either despite having a national insurance number and working since the early 1970’s and he is one of the many immigrants who is being denied basic rights.

So why are these long-serving members of our society unappreciated, unrecognised and more significantly, unfit for basic civilian rights?

A campaign to raise money for Thompson’s treatment is still trending and although the Jamaican-born patient has written personally to the PM asking for funding (which she coldly denied) it is only now that the Immigration office is addressing the inhumane treatment of individual immigrants.

Earlier today, Labour MP David Lammy, who is the son of first-generation Guyanese parents passionately interrogated Secretary of State for the Home Department Amber Rudd addressed parliament in the House of Commons stating that

“When my parents and my generation arrived in this country under the nationality act of 1948 they arrived here as British citizens. It is inhumane and cruel for so many of that Windrush generation to have suffered so long in this condition and for the secretary of state only to have made a statement today.

Many Windrush migrants have been detained as prisoners in their own country, with a multitude of individuals being denied healthcare and pensions.

Amber Rudd responded with an inarguably unapologetic and somewhat pathetic reply,

“I am concerned that the Home Office has become too concerned with policy and strategy and a sometimes loose sight of the individual”

This parliamentary address reveals how individuals’ lives in this country are being turned into a living hell in the name of “policy” and “strategy” and reflects the lousiness of our government, who have failed to represent and acknowledge so many individuals who helped rebuild the country after WW2. It appears the conservative government have inadvertently destroyed the lives so many hopeful people spent decades building.

David Lammy has written a letter signed by 140 MP’s to Theresa May demanding amnesty for these stricken individuals. Lets hope Theresa May responds to Lammy’s request correctly.

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