A group of MPs are reporting the Home Office over the Windrush scandal. More than 80 MPs from six different parties have referred the government department to the equalities watchdog, the BBC reports. A letter sent to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission illustrates why these MPs believe the Home Office treated those from the Windrush generation unfairly and unlawfully based on their race and ethnicity. The Windrush Scandal saw those from the Windrush generation unfairly detained and deported to the Caribbean.
According to the The Guardian, Labour MP David Lammy, who is chair of the parliamentary group on race and community, wrote the letter communicating the unfair treatment of the Windrush generation by the Home Office. The publication reports the letter read:
The gross mishandling and abuse of the Windrush generation by the Home Office raises serious questions over whether British citizens were discriminated against on the basis of their race and ethnicity, in breach of equalities legislation.
More than a year after I first raised this in parliament, nothing has changed. Justice must mean not only due compensation and reparation, but changes to the institution and immigration laws that created this crisis. This is why we are calling on the EHRC to investigate the Home Office and, in particular, the hostile environment legislation, which appears to have led to discriminatory treatment against ethnic minority British citizens.
The Empire Windrush was a ship that brought mainly Caribbean passengers to the UK in the years following World War II, starting in 1948. Buildings and homes had been destroyed during the war and Britain needed help to rebuild the country so called on citizens of the Commonwealth. Many Caribbean countries were part of the British Empire so people answered adverts to come to the UK to live and work. The Windrush generation refers to the estimated 500,000 people in the UK, who arrived from the Caribbean between 1948 and 1971.
Although those from the Windrush generation received indefinite leave to remain in 1971, some children were traveling on their parent's passports, meaning they were undocumented. Then, in 2012, changes to immigration laws meant people without documents had to provide evidence to continue working or even remain living in the UK.
The Windrush scandal, which made headlines in 2018, saw these people whose parents helped rebuild this country, who have lived in the UK for the majority of their lives, being treated like criminals. The Guardian, which broke the story initially, reported on how families were torn apart, working statuses were stripped away, and people were sent to live in countries they were unfamiliar with.
According to the BBC, a Home Office review of tens of thousands of Caribbean cases identified 164 individuals deported or detained who may have lived in the UK prior to 1973. The publication reports that the group of MPs has criticised the Home Office's decision to leave out another 160,000 cases from the review.
As The Guardian reports, Paulette Wilson, a grandmother who previously worked in the House Of Commons canteen, was one of the victims in the Windrush scandal. She was denied access to health care and could not work. She was then sent to immigrant detention centre Yarl's Wood to be deported to Jamaica. This was all despite living in the UK for 50 years and having not returned to the country since the age of 10.
Those from the Windrush generation have given so much to this country and their treatment has been appalling. The letter from these MPs is continuing the conversation and displaying the severity of the Windrush scandal, which should never be forgotten.