Column: '˜So much hostility to migrants'

I strongly condemn the civil rights abuses that commonwealth citizens who have lived in Britain for decades are currently being subject to by this Tory Government. '¨The children of Windrush and others from the Commonwealth that arrived between 1948 and 1971 are currently being made destitute and stateless due to the Government's hostile immigration policies and this needs to stop.

Thursday, 19th April 2018, 08:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th April 2018, 18:51 pm

Britain owes a great debt of gratitude to the children of Windrush and their parents.They were invited to rebuild Britain after WWII as British citizens under the Nationality Act 1948.

Today, we are faced with a situation fuelled by right wing populism and the Government’s hostile and inhumane immigration policies that pro-actively seek and encourage the collaboration of agencies and mainly white British citizens to help the state make people destitute in preparedness for deportation – some people have already been deported.

People that have lived here in the UK for more than 50 years, paid taxes, rebuilt this country and contributed to the social fabric that so many of us benefit from, are having their basic human rights stripped, civil liberties denied and, to an extent, are being dehumanised and criminalised.

They are being denied basic access to health care, losing their jobs, threatened with deportation from their children and even ending up in detention centres.

Cases such as Albert Thompson’s who faces a bill of £54,000 for cancer treatment, despite living in the UK for 44 years; or Michael Braithwaite who lost his job because he was deemed as an illegal immigrant, or that of Paulette Wilson, who has lived in the UK for more than 50 years, only to be told she was an illegal immigrant – highlight the plight that many of the children of the Windrush find themselves in. The predicament of these Caribbean nationals is further exacerbated by the burden of proof placed on these individuals to demonstrate that their residency in the UK predates 1971.

Listening to David Lammy MP in Parliament on Monday, pleading with the Home Secretary for the details of the inhumane treatment that British Caribbean nationals are being subject to currently by her department, this impassioned speech utterly broke my heart. Here is a man that on one hand is witnessing young people being dragged into knife crime and, on the other end of the spectrum, people of his parents’ generation are being degraded in the most inhumane way by the state – and I can tell he feels helpless.

In my life, I have dealt with more than 300 cases of racism and hostility, I have witnessed, and experienced people using power and privilege to suppress the voice of minorities in the most calculated of methods and also observed people losing their lives because of the pigmentation of their skin.

I have witnessed in Doncaster a black man for nearly 20 years pleading for equality and freedom – only to find his voice constantly suppressed and asked to accept the norm.

I have witnessed women being condemned for wearing the hijab – reading evidence that they are 71 per vcent more likely to be unemployed.

I have grown up observing and reading history.

The sign “No Irish, No blacks and No dogs” captured my imagination and offended my internal being like no other.

Though, despite all my experiences, observations and life struggles, I have never experienced a more hostile environment towards migrants than the one that I observe now – state sponsored and designed to cause maximum damage to the human rights and civil liberties of ordinary citizens.

My trust in politicians and the state day by day erodes a little more.

My conclusion is simply this - that for some people like women at the bottom of the gender pay gap, misogyny, power and vulnerability will be the main issue that will prevent their progression.

Though for minorities, it will be the fact they can never be fully accepted because of a combination of pigmentation, faith, class and vulnerability.