Windrush or Windhush: Three Dead After Wrongful Deportation

Windrush or Windhush: Three Dead After Wrongful Deportation

It has emerged three individuals have died after being wrongly deported from the UK, in what is the latest development in the Windrush scandal. 

Last week, the Home Office removed 13 individuals from the UK in an error. As all members of the Windrush generation are - at a bare minimum in their late 50’s - one can imagine the detrimental impact these experiences have had on their mental and physical well-being. 

“it’s stupid, we came here and helped build this country. I swept these streets and made their clothes, I am just as British” one member of the Windrush generation has said. 

With a variety of measures in place (described below) to help members of the Windrush generation, it’s hard to ascertain how an error like this could occur, ultimately raising questions about the efficiency and effectiveness of the current mechanisms in place to aid those affected. 

A government petition created in early 2018, entitled “Amnesty for anyone who was a minor that arrived in Britain between 1948 to 1971”, reached over 180,000 signatures and was thus debated in parliament as per parliamentary protocol. In response, the government stated:

“Let us be in no doubt about the debt of gratitude that this country owes to the Windrush generation…. The Government is clear that an amnesty for this group is not required because these people do not require amnesty: they already have the right to remain here.”

The following measures were highlighted in the same statement: 

  •  On the 16th and 23rd of April, measures were implemented to ensure the Windrush generation could easily obtain documentation to demonstrate their rights and could easily go on to apply for British Citizenship. 
  •  This includes a task force that was established to support them.
  •   A public consultation scheme has been set up to ascertain the design of the compensation scheme for members of the Windrush generation, this closes on October 11th. 
  • The Government will waive the citizenship fee for anyone in the Windrush generation who wishes to apply for citizenship. This applies to those who have no current documentation, and also to those who have it.
  •  The Government will waive the requirement to carry out a Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK test for British Citizenship.
  • The children of the Windrush generation who are in the UK and need to apply for naturalization will have their fee waived.

The above was released in May, yet a few months later, individuals of the Windrush generation are still worried and suffering. 

The governments de facto treatment of the wind rush scandal not only expands to their treatment of their empiric history, but also to their stance on immigration as a whole. 

It is from this I want to highlight some similarities between the U.K and the U.S.A in regards to immigration. Despite 2/3 Briton’s feeling unfavourable towards the current president of the United States, Donald Trump (a president who is infamous for his anti-immigration stance, policy and racial bias) Britons seem to lack a considerable amount of outrage for the Windrush generation. (Ipsos MORI)

Admittedly, when the Windrush scandal first emerged there was an outrage to the extent it prompted Amber Rudd’s resignation. However, it appears that resignation was perceived as a solution to the ongoing problem. 

One of the most controversial immigration strategies under the Trump administration was family separation, with footage depicting children and vulnerable individuals being torn apart. This rightly generated international outrage. Outrage today is fundamental for policy change and after the pressure mounted on the Trump administration, he reversed the child separation policy. And the initial outrage towards hostile immigration policies for the Windrush generation led to the aforementioned government response.

However, at least 13 vulnerable members of British society were wrongly removed from their homes and families, which could have been an influential factor in three of their deaths. 

Earlier this year MPs said the Home Office had “set immigrants up to fail” and as news of more wrongful deportations makes the rounds, it would appear they continue to do so. 

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