🚨 @WindrushLives Thread: The #WindrushInjustice and the Windrush Compensation Scheme 🚨

Between 1948 and 1973 people from all over the Commonwealth were encouraged to come to the UK, their labour needed to rekindle the post-war economy. [1/25]
They became known as the ‘Windrush generation’ after the ship (the Empire Windrush) that brought the first group of 492 people to the UK. They, and those that followed, were British subjects who were entitled to live and work in the UK. [2/25]
However, successive immigration legislation from 1962 onwards (in a context of virulent racism - epitomised by Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech in 1968) restricted the rights of people from certain countries to settle in the UK. [3/25]
Under the Immigration Act 1971, which restricted new immigration from the Commonwealth, anyone from the Commonwealth already settled in the UK before 1973 was granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR). [4/25]
However, there was no documentation to prove this and 1000s of children had arrived on their parents’ or siblings’ passports with no proof of their arrival [5/25]
Over the years, when the birth countries of these Windrush generation people became independent, most of them lost their Citizens of the UK and Colonies (CUKC) status and Right of Abode but many believed that they were still British citizens. [6/25]
Registration schemes through which people could register as Citizens of the UK and Colonies or as British citizens were not widely publicised and the importance of registration was downplayed. Moreover, the scheme was only applicable to adults. [7/25]
The British Nationality Act 1981 amended the Immigration Act 1971 and introduced the status of British Citizen. Anyone born in the UK after 1st January 1983 was no longer automatically British. Their status would depend on their parents’ status. [8/25]
In 1988, a freedom of movement provision was removed and time abroad was limited to two years or the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) would lapse. Not exactly indefinite. Hundreds, if not thousands of previously settled Commonwealth citizens became stranded abroad. [9/25]
Although the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 protected long-term residents from Commonwealth countries from enforced removal, this protective provision was not transferred to the 2014 immigration legislation. [10/25]
Biometric Residence Permits were introduced in November 2008. Most people who were already settled in the UK did not know about this and many of those who did know, could not afford the high fee for this new documentary proof. [11/25]
The Immigration Acts of 2014 and 2016 required immigration checks to be made for employment, benefits, renting, banking, NHS care and driving licences. The Windrush generation were suddenly required to produce documentation that many of them did not have. [12/25]
People that had lived in the UK for over 50 years were suddenly regarded as illegal immigrants and were at risk of detention and enforced removal - many WERE detained and forcibly removed. @WindrushLives [13/25]
This is the deeply racist Hostile Environment in action: an array of policies, legal measures, and bureaucratic procedures intended to drive down immigration numbers, gleefully implemented by the institutionally racist Home Office (HO), at the time run by Theresa May. [14/25]
1000s of people from the Commonwealth and beyond – incl. people born in the UK – were sacked from their jobs, evicted, had homes repossessed, denied NHS care, detained, deported and refused re-entry to the UK after trips abroad. [15/25]
When the Windrush Scandal/Injustice came to light, forcing then Home Secretary Amber Rudd to resign, the Government established the Windrush Compensation Scheme in April 2019 for Windrushers and their descendants who had been impacted. [16/25]
The Sajid Javid-run Home Office estimated the scheme would pay out somewhere between £200m and £587m to 15,000 eligible claimants, but that ‘there was no cap’ on payouts and that the Government would ‘right the wrongs’ done to the Windrush generation and their families. [17/25]
It will probably not come as a shock to anyone familiar with the workings of the Home Office that the wrongs have not, in fact, been righted. #WindrushInjustice [18/25]
Instead the wrongs have been compounded by *extremely* slow processing of cases, meagre and insulting offers, excessive burdens of proof, a re-traumatising and labyrinthine bureaucracy, and the exclusion of people who should be eligible. [19/25]
Moreover, no provisions for legal aid were made, and claimants were told they did not need legal advice to complete an application. A frankly ludicrous position given how the Scheme has been administered (see above re: burdens of proof and labyrinthine bureaucracy) [20/25]
In December 2020, Priti Patel announced changes to the Scheme in the face of public criticism and claimant anger. [21/25]
So-called ‘fast-track’ (*narrator voice*: they are not) preliminary payments and increased tariffs seemed a step forward, but they are still administered (poorly) by the institutionally racist HO and trust in the process among affected communities is at rock-bottom. [22/25]
The latest Home Office data shows that only £6.2m has been paid out, with some claimants waiting more than TWO YEARS for their claims to be processed. A THIRD of claimants have been waiting OVER A YEAR. At least 9 people have died while waiting for compensation. [23/25]
See this excellent piece by @MayBulman for up-to-date reporting on these shocking numbers. [24/25] independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-n…
In later threads, we'll present you the stories of some of these claimants and how they have taken the fight to government. These stories are why we say the Windrush Compensation Scheme MUST be taken away from the Home Office. @WindrushLives #WindrushInjustice #BreakTheHE [25/25]

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More from @JolyonMaugham

5 May
🚨@WindrushLives Closing Thread🚨

We’ll be off in a minute, so a few final thoughts:

First, we hope you’ll agree that the Windrush Compensation Scheme doesn’t work, was never really intended to, and is an insult to victims, for whom #WindrushInjustice continues.
Where do we go from here?

It is vital to centre the lives and experiences of Windrush survivors and to continue to keep tabs on and understand how the compensation scheme is really working (or not) for the people that matter – the claimants.
To that end, we are delighted to announce a collab to rival Ivy Park (ok, not really): @WindrushLives x @GoodLawProject will in short order be publishing a questionnaire designed to gather the data that the Home Office can’t, or won’t.
Read 25 tweets
5 May
🚨@WindrushLives Thread🚨

Let’s interrogate what reparation for the #WindrushInjustice ought to look like.

Strategically, we are committed to improving the existing Scheme ASAP and taking it away from the HO so that claimants can get the compensation they are owed. [1/20]
But that word - ‘owed’ - is an important one here. The injustice done to the Windrush generation and their families is about more than material losses from loss of employment, for example, although that is of course a big part of the harm done. [2/20]
It is also about the stripping of citizenship and the rights that come with it, and deprivation of dignity, identity and a sense of belonging. [3/20]
Read 20 tweets
5 May
You’ve now seen the scale and depth of very much ongoing #WindrushInjustice. You’ve heard directly from victims.

Even more than an advocacy and support group, @WindrushLives is a network of victims, and this is what we want: [1/7]
This demand - that the Scheme be taken out of the @ukhomeoffice - is based on the Home Office's own stats. As experts inc @JacquiMckenzie6 have noted, the HO is barely keeping its head above water with a little over 2.5k claims - between 17-20% of its own expected total. [2/7]
It’s also based on the fact of the hostile environment. Virulent racism and a rabid desire to throw people out of the country under any manageable pretext are just *fundamentally incompatible* with restorative justice and reparations. We can’t believe this needs saying. WL [3/7]
Read 7 tweets
5 May
“I got more stressed trying to get the information they” - the Windrush Compensation Scheme - “were asking, than actually losing my passport.”

Welcome to the ‘hostile compensation scheme’, a service brought to you, the taxpayer, by @ukhomeoffice. [1/25]
So you’ve had your life and livelihood upended by the whims of a puerile govt policy pursuing a populist project that runs contrary to the staggering weight of evidence derived from economics, history and demographic science! Ain’t that something? [2/25]
Chin up - here is a Compensation Scheme we’ve designed to make amends for our unjust, racist ways. Just one thing though: if you want some of this money, there are some forms to fill out, and we’ll need some supporting evidence. Nothing tricky... [3/25]
Read 25 tweets
5 May

GASLIGHT, v: to manipulate by psychological means causing a person to doubt their own sanity.

This is a thread about an ongoing limb of the #WindrushInjustice that isn’t well reported + remains under the radar as a result: passport confiscation. @WindrushLives [1/21]
There is a contingent of Windrush victims that we don’t talk about. They are British-born, British passport-holding Black people with Windrush parentage, who have had their British passports *taken away* by @ukhomeoffice for the legally valid reason of [*crickets*]. [2/21]
In the next 5 tweets, you will see the unbelievable story of Carl Nwazota. This will be the most shocking and enraging 10 minutes of your day, for a number of reasons which we’ll go into down thread. Please give this your undivided attention. [3/21]
Read 20 tweets
5 May
Earlier we linked to this article by @maybulman @Independent which exposed how ‘less than £6.2m has been paid out of the £200m promised to victims’: independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-n… @WindrushLives [1/4]
In part this is because just 1 in 5 of those who have applied to the Windrush Compensation Scheme have received any compensation - and even then only after waiting for months or years. [2/4]
Meanwhile, as the paperwork drags through an unfit system, ‘at least nine people had died before receiving Windrush compensation as of 31 August.’ [3/4]
Read 4 tweets

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