Extend the ‘Windrush Scheme’, time for UK govt to right a historic wrong

Windrush Descendants and Windrush families – Let them ALL Stay! Parliamentary Campaign Launch

Tuesday 17th July, 6pm, Committee Room 11, Houses of Parliament (Register)

Windrush Descendants Briefing

Facilitated by Janet Daby MP, herself a child of Windrush generation parents, alongside David Lammy MP who has been at the forefront of the fight for the Windrush Generation – this meeting will launch Movement for Justice’s campaign to expand the Government’s ‘Windrush Scheme’, and act in this crucial moment to bring an end to a historic wrong. At present, many descendants of the Windrush Generation remain at risk of detention and removal: children, grandchildren and close family members who came to the UK as adults after 1973.

Windrush Descendants Launch.jpg
Windrush Descendants & Families, L-R: Yvonne Williams, Yvonne Smith, Jennifer Ulett-Hall & Charmaine Simpson

Hear from two of those descendants at risk, Yvonne Smith and Yvonne Williams, Jamaican grandmothers detained in Yarl’s Wood for 9 months who have been fighting for the right to stay with their extensive British families for almost 20 years. Despite being the children of Windrush Generation immigrants, they do not fit into the governments ‘Windrush Scheme’ because they came to the UK as adults after 1973. Thousands of people are being turned away from the governments Windrush Taskforce because they do not fit the narrow criteria which is defined by immigration laws passed in the 60’s and 70’s; blatantly discriminatory laws designed to stop further black and Asian immigration from Commonwealth countries whilst still allowing many white people from the Commonwealth the right to British citizenship.

Grace Brown, Barrister Garden Court Chambers (also a child of Windrush generation parents) and Vinita Templeton, Director of Immigration & Public Law at Duncan Lewis Cardiff will speak about the legal campaign to extend the right to stay to the descendants and families of the Windrush Generation, to put right an historic injustice.

What are we calling for?

  1. Amend the Windrush Scheme to add a sub category, which covers adult children, grandchildren and other close family members of the Windrush Generation, people who came to the UK after 1973 as adults and so are not currently covered in the Scheme.
  2. A public Inquiry to investigate the historic injustice done to black and Asian Commonwealth Citizens by the racial discrimination embedded in British Nationality and Immigration legislation from 1962 to 1981. For a far reaching review of British Immigration and Nationality legislation and its compatibility with the Equality Act and Human Rights legislation.
  3. For the widening of family reunion rules to allow for the reunion of adult children with their parents in the UK and the reunion of parents with their adult children in the UK.

Britain’s Broken Promise to the Windrush Generation – time to make good!

In 1948 The British Nationality act was passed, it conferred a shared citizenship status for everyone in Britain and its colonies (Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies), all Commonwealth citizens (including those who gained independence) had the right to enter the UK free from immigration control. That same year the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks, the symbolic beginning of large-scale immigration from Commonwealth countries to the UK. People were actively recruited from the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia to ‘rebuild Britain’ in the post war boom period. The Evening standard welcomed the arrival of the Empire Windrush with the headline “Welcome Home”. For many who arrived it was not the first time they had come to the aid of Britain, they had served as soldiers in the II World War. In return for (once again) coming to the Britain’s aid, Commonwealth Citizens were promised equality of opportunity, fair treatment, work and a home in the ‘Motherland’. Citizens of the Commonwealth kept their side of the promise despite great hardship. 14 short years later Britain began the process of breaking that promise with the 1962 Commonwealth Act, which began the process of restricting Commonwealth immigration creating second-class citizen status for those not born in the UK.

The European Human Rights Commission in 1973 found that the Commonwealth Immigration Act of 1968 was racially discriminatory in East African Asians case.  The 1971 Immigration Act maintained this racial discrimination by introducing concept of ‘patrials’, which benefited white commonwealth citizens over black and Asian Commonwealth citizens. It enabled those who were British Citizens by birth in the UK to pass on their citizenship to children and grandchildren. This excluded children of the vast majority of Windrush generation arrivals from African, Caribbean and Asian countries who were British Citizens (CUKC) not born in Britain. Though the ‘No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish’ signs were made illegal by the 1968 Race Relations Act, the Immigration Act passed in the same year effectively relocated those signs to the UK border.

Border Cartoon Final Final

The 1971 Act and its predecessor the 1968 Commonwealth Immigrants Act are widely recognised to be racially discriminatory in practice. At the time of their passage both politicians and campaigners challenged the racism of the Acts.

The 1968 and 1971 Acts created a second class citizenship for those British Citizens who were not born in the UK, one they could not pass on to the children who they had to leave behind when they travelled to the UK.

The ‘Windrush Generation’ from across the Commonwealth were actively recruited, invited to come to the UK. Young, ambitious and talented people from across the commonwealth made the journey, seeing opportunity to secure their families futures and the future of their descendants. It was not an easy process, people faced great hardship, racial discrimination, violence and the pain of leaving children behind. Many managed to raise the money needed to bring all of their children to the UK but many did not, and some children stayed in their home countries with a grandparent or aunt. Family life developed across countries and continents, parents sending back money, cards and gifts for their children. For some of the Windrush children who did not make it to Britain, their parents only made enough money to get home to visit when they were in their late teens or twenties because of the meagre amount they earned in Britain’s public services and factories. Arthur Curling, who arrived on the Empire Windrush summed up this difficulty “England was the easiest country to get in to and the hardest country to get out of, for the mere fact is, if you working, you never earn enough money for your fare, but at the same time you always say you always have another 10 year, 15-20 years”. Some of the children left behind never saw one or both of their parents again, like Windrush descendant Yvonne Smith who was the youngest of her siblings at 4 years old when they all left with her mother to join their father in the UK; after just one year her mother died. The family could not afford to bring her body home to Jamaica, or to bring Yvonne or her grandmother to the UK for the funeral.

That these families to this day are subject to the constant stress and expense of fighting for the right of their loved ones to stay, as the result of racially discriminatory immigration laws of the 60’s and 70’s which excluded them, is a grave historic injustice. The debt owed to the Windrush Generation must finally be paid, the promise Britain made acted upon.

Immigration Amnesty for ALL – Petition Launched!

Britain’s immigration system has been exposed as inhuman, deeply cynical and thoroughly racist. What all those who’ve had to fight through the system have known for decades is now exposed for the whole country to see. The Home Office is driven by racist removal targets and an anti-immigrant agenda. Every applicant is treated as a liar, no amount of evidence is good enough, decisions are arbitrary cut/paste jobs, outrageous profit is made out of peoples misery through fees, people are left unable to work for years while bad decisions are made, people are locked up like criminals and those seeking sanctuary are subject to further torture here in the UK.

For years, immigrants, asylum seekers, detainees, international students have been resisting the brutal and unjust immigration system by any means necessary. From fighting their way off planes, exposing the brutality in immigration detention, organising together to resist raids, deportations & charter flights or fighting through the courts, time and time again the government has been exposed and defeated.

Now the entire country has been shaken by the exposure of cruel injustice towards people of the ‘Windrush generation’, who arrived from the Caribbean in the ‘50s & ‘60s, fought the racist anti-immigrant hostility of the time, only to be told in retirement ‘you don’t belong here’.  The Home Office saw these mainly Caribbean elders as ‘low hanging fruit’ in their racist drive to reduce net migration targets and picked them off for deportation accordingly. This was a massive overreach on the part of the Home Office. It’s exposure means that Theresa May’s ‘Hostile Environment’ anti-immigrant policy is now vulnerable; they’ve already started rolling back on key aspects of the policy; we can win more, we can tear it down. Continue reading “Immigration Amnesty for ALL – Petition Launched!”

Yarl’s Wood detainees resist Nigeria/Ghana mass deportation charter flight – unlawful deportation prevented

Free AG NOW. Amnesty for ALL immigrants – and shut down ALL detention centres. Stop mass deportation charter flights. Build the independent, integrated movement.

In Yarl’s Wood detention centre new battles in the fight for women’s rights and immigrant rights have been opening up, with women taking all means necessary, encouraged and more confident having seen the government’s hostile environment immigration policy exposed and vulnerable, and having been part of the struggles that made it vulnerable through months of collective action inside Yarl’s Wood.

In Yarl’s Wood on Wednesday 30 May 2018, women gathered in Dove unit to defend Nigerian and Ghanaian women whom they knew to be the latest targets for a mass deportation charter flight. This action to stop deportations took place in the context of the Government’s wider, self-inflicted crisis over its anti-immigrant policies. It takes the fight to end detention and the whole hostile environment to a higher level and asserts the importance of immigrant leadership in this fight.

Continue reading “Yarl’s Wood detainees resist Nigeria/Ghana mass deportation charter flight – unlawful deportation prevented”

Diaspora+ Day of Action Calling on Nigerian & Ghanaian Governments to Stop Wednesdays Charter Flight!

Day of Action for Nigerian and Ghanaian Diaspora community and ALL those who want to see an end to charter flights to demand that Nigeria and Ghana withdraw all co-operation with the UK’s mass deportation charter flights – that they intervene to STOP the charter flight to Nigeria & Ghana scheduled for Wednesday 30th May 2018

Tuesday is the last full working day before the Home Office fill a charter flight with Nigerians and Ghanaians. those being removed are shackled by their hands and feet with a restraint belt and two guards for each person. These are women and men, some of whom have lived in the UK since childhood, fathers of British children, grandmothers and partners who have no one left in their country of origin, people who have lived in the UK for 15 years, victims of torture, LGBT people and more. Charter flights inflict a deep injustice on our communities. Deportation targets are put before human beings and many are denied due process, deported while their case is still ongoing. THESE CHARTER FLIGHTS MUST STOP!

In the light of the abuse and deportation of the Windrush Generation it is time for Commonwealth countries to withdraw co-operation with these unjust flights.

TAKE ACTION ON TUESDAY 29 MAY:
Everyone can use Tuesday to call/email/tweet/Instagram/Facebook the High Commissions, newspapers, radio stations,  TV stations, celebrities and politicians to make the call on the Nigerian and Ghanaian governments to withdraw cooperation – if they do this the planes will not fly. Continue reading “Diaspora+ Day of Action Calling on Nigerian & Ghanaian Governments to Stop Wednesdays Charter Flight!”

Meet Yarl’s Wood detainees the Home Office plans to deport on Wed 30 May by charter flight #StopCharterFlights

These are stories of the 15 people we know of in Yarl’s Wood who are at risk of being on Wednesday’s charter flight to Nigeria and Ghana. They include people who have lived in the UK for 17, 15, 14, 13 and 12 years, a gay woman who has been here since she was 12 years old, two couples, several victims of FGM, domestic violence, rape and torture, women who are married or partners with British Citizens and EEA nationals, people who are carers, people who have no one left in Nigeria and people ranging in age from 20’s to 50’s.

1. FA: I have lived in UK since Feb 2006, 17 years. I am a victim of domestic violence, FGM and suffering from high blood pressure which is classified by the Home Office as adult risk level 2. I have been detained in Yarl’s Wood for 7 months. When I first came to the UK with was with my previous husband (a British Citizen) on a spousal visa, I suffered from domestic violence for years, which was deeply traumatic, and when that relationship broke down it meant my right to stay broke as well. I now have a loving partner with EEA citizenship, we have been together for 6 years and living together for 3 but no matter what evidence we submit we are treated as liars. My only sister lives in the UK, we are very close and I love my young nephew very much, I would be devastated to leave them and my partner. We are all treated as liars, no matter what we say, the Home Office is just looking to meet its targets, it is wrong.

Continue reading “Meet Yarl’s Wood detainees the Home Office plans to deport on Wed 30 May by charter flight #StopCharterFlights”