Like many Londoners, I have family who are part of the Windrush generation.
Lucy, and husband Cecil, came here to help rebuild Britain; Lucy as a dedicated, caring nurse who worked lifelong in the NHS, and Cecil as a skilled artisan. They are Mum and Dad to my brother-in-law, Colin, and grandparents to my much-loved niece Aimee.
They came not as migrants, but as British citizens, invited to a post-war Britain without the workforce to run its own public services.
Despite the most appalling racism, they firmly believed they could make this country their home, fit for their children and grandchildren.
Fifty years on, they have been betrayed.
Theresa May’s policies and actions crushed their belief that racism, which plagued their youth, had been consigned to the dustbin.
As Home Secretary, May led a concerted effort to change the basis of our migration system. British people, no matter how long they’ve lived here, can be made to feel like criminals.
Many in the Windrush generation are being asked to prove their rights fifty years on and many can’t provide evidence for every year they’ve lived here nor afford the huge fees demanded.
Some have been required to report to immigration centres or face eviction. A number have been imprisoned in detention centres, as if they were criminals.
These are the people who helped rebuild our country after World War II. Many, themselves, fought in that War.
They came at the Government’s invitation, they stayed at the Government’s request and for decades worked year after year after year as part of our communities.
The latest Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, now concedes that the ‘hostile environment’ will end, as a result of Labour’s pressure. If true, it’s a positive step, but won’t undo the damage done.
It’s only right that Theresa May compensates in full those of the Windrush generation who have suffered and takes responsibility for the anguish meted out by her vicious, cold-hearted policies.
Anyone from, or related to, the Windrush generation facing immigration difficulties can contact me on 020 7219 6999 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.