Reinstate legal protection for Commonwealth Citizens and end the "hostile environment."
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An apology is not enough. Bring back legal protection and bring an end to the “hostile environment". Furthermore anyone effected should be adequately compensated for the harm done. We also demand information on the number of people who have been wrongly detained, deported, denied healthcare, lost work, denied pensions and benefits under this shameful "Windrush debacle."
Known as the “Windrush Generation”, Caribbean families were invited to the UK to help rebuild the country after World War Two. For decades they lived here, made their homes and contributed to our society.
Adults had documentation marked with a permanent right to reside. But children’s statuses were often included on parents passports meaning they didn’t have their own documents. Now these children are pensioners, many have had their immigration status questioned by the Home Office. These people, who have been living here for generations, are being treated as if they are illegal immigrants.
Four years ago, the UK government quietly removed a key legal protection for some British residents of this generation. Because of this removal and Theresa May’s “hostile environment ” policy, many of this generation have been threatened with deportation and have had access to services like, housing, healthcare and bank accounts revoked. I’m calling to bring back this legal protection and bring an end to the “hostile environment”. Furthermore anyone effected should be adequately compensated for the harm done.
I have family and friends who were part of the Windrush generation and who could have been amongst the many facing deportation, detention or being deprived ofbasic services. Thankfully, they were lucky and managed to get the support they needed to resolve their cases. Many people didn’t.
I work with the local Caribbean community in Bristol and over the past few monthsmany have been deeply worried about the Home Office’s behaviour. There have also been reports of people still being deported.
Whilst the Government has paid lip service to Commonwealth nationals, saying their treatment has been “appalling” and “wrong” and a task force has been set up to clarify their status, the Government’s solution does not go far enough.
To make this work, and to protect all those of the Windrush generation from deportation, it is vital that the Government reinstates the legal protections removed in the 2014 Immigration Act. However, this will not be enough to protect all those who have fallen victim to the Government’s disgraceful “hostile environment” and I support the calls for an Independent Commission into the functionality of the Home Office and the hostile environment policy. It must be determined how many have been effected this shameful chapter in British history.
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