he 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush ship in Britain is finally here, with many events recognising the occasion set to take place across the country.
HMT Empire Windrush docked in Britain on June 22, 1948, and marked the beginning of a wave of immigration that helped repair post-war Britain.
Windrush Day commemorates the arrival of more than 800 passengers who would come to be known as the ‘Windrush generation’, and the 75th anniversary is set to be extra special.
But alongside the annual celebrations of migrants contributions to Britain, there will also be reflection on the more sombre aspects of Windrush history, including the recent history of the ‘Windrush scandal’.
In 2018, it emerged that hundreds of Caribbean immigrants in the UK were being wrongly targeted by immigration enforcement, with many being detained or deported.
Due to the government's "hostile environment" policies, the Windrush Generation of Commonwealth citizens were denied healthcare and threatened with deportation.
This became known as the Windrush scandal, which led to the resignation of then-Home Secretary Amber Rudd after she admitted to "inadvertently" misleading MPs over the targets set for the voluntary removal of migrants.
Theresa May, UK Prime Minister at the time, apologised to the heads of 12 Caribbean countries after an outcry that saw 140 MPs sign a letter to demand a resolution to the crisis.
What is Windrush Day?
Windrush Day takes place annually on June 22, marking the anniversary of when the Windrush ship arrived in Britain.
It’s a day to celebrate the Windrush Generation, but also a day to reflect on the Windrush Scandal.
What was the Windrush Scandal?
The Windrush generation was the generation of immigrants who arrived in Britain between 1948 and 1973.
They were named after the ship HMT Empire Windrush, which came from African and Caribbean countries under a rule allowing freedom of movement within the Commonwealth.
Minors travelled on their parents' documents and some never registered for a passport as they did not intend to travel abroad.
But because they never asked for documents proving their status and the Home Office did not automatically issue any, many were then asked to leave the UK after then-Home Secretary Theresa May brought in the "hostile environment" immigration policies in 2013.
The 1971 Immigration Act gave indefinite leave to remain to Commonwealth citizens already living in the UK, because freedom of movement within the Commonwealth was ending.
However, the Home Office did not record the details of each individual - so it became hard for those who didn't get documents at the time to prove that they were in the UK legally.
Many cases emerged in 2018 of Windrush children - now adults who have lived in the UK for several decades - facing the threat of deportation.
What compensation did those affected receive?
More than 160 people were detained or deported in the Windrush scandal.
However, as yet only 60 people have received financial compensation, despite 1,275 people applying for payouts from the government as of March this year. Officials have only paid out £360,000 to five percent of claimants - despite setting aside an estimated £200million for compensation.
The Migration Observatory at Oxford University estimates there are 500,000 people resident in the UK who arrived before 1971 from a Commonwealth country.
Ms May's official spokesman said the then-Prime Minister was clear that "no-one with the right to be here will be made to leave".
In her resignation letter, Ms Rudd took "full responsibility" for her lack of knowledge regarding targets for migrant removal.
She had previously apologised in the House of Commons for the "appalling" treatment of the Windrush veterans, announcing a taskforce to resolve their immigration status as quickly as possible.
How will the 75th anniversary be celebrated?
They say: “The 75th anniversary of the Windrush arriving in the UK is a Diamond Jubilee for modern, diverse Britain – when we mark an important moment in British history and come together to celebrate four generations of contribution, legacy, struggle, and positive change.”
A host of events are being planned, including question and answer sessions with people and their families who came over, art installations, and dance events. The full list of events can be found here.
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