Windrush generation and support for undocumented migrants
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The Windrush generation refers to people who, between 1948 to 1971, were invited by successive governments to relocate to Britain from their homes in Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean to address labour shortages.
New laws which came into force with the 2014 Immigration Act led to some facing immigration checks and despite being British citizens. The Government called this its ‘hostile environment’ approach. Many from the Windrush generation didn’t have formal papers to prove their lawful status. This led to many being denied access to benefits, healthcare, social housing and losing their jobs, with some even wrongly detained and deported.
About 8% of Hackney’s population is of African Caribbean ethnic background and it’s believed the borough is home to hundreds, if not thousands, of the Windrush generation and Commonwealth countries across the globe.
In August 2018, Hackney was the first council in the UK to pass a comprehensive motion regarding the Windrush generation. The Council also celebrates Windrush Day on 22 June – the date the ship HMT Empire Windrush landed at Tilbury Docks in 1948.
Our commitments are to:
- continue to actively campaign for an end to all ‘hostile environment’ policy measures and persist to call on the government to enable the Windrush generation to acquire British citizenship at no cost and with proactive assistance
- lead the way, by celebrating Windrush Day and welcome the government’s announcement to make 22 June an annual celebration to recognise and honour the contributions of the Windrush generation
- press the Prime Minister to respond to the independent public enquiry into the Windrush scandal
- demand the government fully supports advice agencies in their work to achieve justice for all Hackney residents of the Windrush generation
- review the Council’s own policies and procedures to ensure we support those affected
- support the call for fees for naturalisation to be waived for all those who have been affected
- oppose the criminalisation of Windrush families
January 2023: Mayor Glanville and Cllr Williams wrote to Home Secretary Suella Braverman to raise concerns about the Windrush Compensation Scheme. See letter to Home secretary on Windrush compensation scheme (PDF 280kb).
May 2018: Mayor Philip Glanville wrote an open letter to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid urging him to commit to undoing the ‘appalling’ hostile environment immigration policies.
October 2018: The Council submitted a consultation response to the government’s proposed compensation scheme for victims of the Windrush scandal.
December 2018: Mayor Glanville wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May calling on her to “commit to an independent inquiry into the ongoing Windrush generation scandal”.
September 2019: Cllr Williams wrote to Home Secretary Priti Patel urging government to “scrap the inhumane “hostile environment policy” and “launch a formal independent inquiry”.
October 2019: The Home Office responded claiming they were ‘determined to right the wrongs suffered by the Windrush generation’.
February 2020: Mayor Glanville and Cllr Williams wrote to Home Secretary Priti Patel calling to take the Windrush compensation scheme bill further and fund a campaign to alert individuals of their right to claim.
February 2020: Mayor Glanville and Cllr Williams wrote to Yvette Cooper MP, Chair of the Home Affairs Committee to re-open the Windrush Generation inquiry in light of the Windrush Compensation Scheme (Expenditure) Bill.
March 2020: J Yates Customer, Performance and Improvement UK Visas and Immigration responded with details of the deportations to Jamaica in February 2020.