COME over as a child from the Caribbean to the UK in the 1960s, go to school in the UK, work an entire life time in the UK, raise children in the UK, only then to be told you are not welcome in the UK, and be kicked out of the country – deported to the Caribbean – to live your last days there.
The Home Office has admitted that at least 63 members of the Windrush generation have been treated in this fashion and wrongly deported to the Caribbean. The latest revelations by the Jamaican Foreign Ministry, that three wrongly deported members of the Windrush generation have died in the Caribbean before officials were able to contact them and tell them that they have every right to return to the UK, has deepened the Windrush scandal and the crisis of the Tory government.
Thousands of men, women and their children came over from the Caribbean on boats such as the Empress Windrush ship to work in the NHS and the transport system which at the time was still a nationalised publicly owned service. They were welcomed and urged to stay on to build a new life for themselves in England as they helped rebuild it after the war.
It never occurred to them that they would need to keep their landing cards to prove that they had come to the UK legally. Then, in 2010 the Home Office burned the landing cards, their evidence of their legal arrival.
PM May is responsible, she was Home Secretary at the time. She created a ‘hostile environment’ in which thousands had to prove their right to stay or face deportation, as the UK ruling class had no further use for the ‘rebuilders’.
Meanwhile, private out-sourcing giant Capita is now paid extra money by the Home Office for each and every person they deport. As part of the continuing investigation into the Windrush scandal by the cross-party joint committee on human rights (JCHR), committee chair Harriet Harman wrote to Tory Home Secretary Sajid Javid asking a number of questions on the issue.
Harman asked: ‘Whether any payments from the Home Office to Capita were linked to numbers who left the country voluntarily or were even detained or deported?’ In responding Javid admitted that Capita did indeed operate an ‘outcome-based payment mechanism’ between 2012 and 2016.
So it was a pay-per-removal service that Capita supplied! The firm was paid between £10.58 and £22.63 per person contacted who ‘left the UK voluntarily’.
The committee condemned the Home Office in June after Capita sent two Windrush citizens, who had been living in the UK for about 50 years, to immigration detention centres in order to deport them out of the country. The committee said Paulette Wilson and Anthony Bryan had experienced a ‘total violation of their human rights’.
In the case of Paulette Wilson, she had been in Britain for 50 years when she received a letter informing her that she was an ‘illegal immigrant’ and was going to be removed and sent back to Jamaica, the country she left when she was ten years old and has never visited since.
She spent a week at Yarl’s Wood detention centre before being sent to the immigration removal centre at Heathrow. It was only a last-minute intervention from her MP and a local charity that prevented a forced removal. During her life Paulette actually worked in the House of Commons restaurant overlooking the Thames, serving meals to MPs and parliamentary security staff.
This is the way that the Tory government treat people who have dedicated their entire life working in Britain, only to be told that they are not British and to ‘go back to where you came from’. Apology or not, the Tories ‘hostile environment’ has not gone away in fact it has deepened.
However it has sparked its opposite . . . the entire working class are now extremely hostile towards the government and all of its anti-working class racist policies. At this year’s TUC conference a motion must be put down and acted upon to put an end to this Tory government by calling a general strike to go forward to a workers’ government that will welcome all workers from across the world as part of building a socialist society. The WRP and the YS are lobbying the TUC Congress on September 9. Make sure you join the lobby!