It’s hard to top the boneheaded antics and downright assholery of the Trump administration when it comes to immigration, but Britain is certainly trying its best right now with the ‘Windrush generation’ — a group of child immigrants who arrived in the country legally, but are now at risk of deportation by a system that wants to take-backsies their immigration status.
If you think this sounds exactly like DACA, you’re right…except that these children arrived in the UK over fifty years ago, making this less DACA and more Deferred Action for Grown-Ass Adults.
The ‘Windrush generation’ — named after the passenger liner/ex-Nazi troop carrier that brought the first group to British shores — comprises over 500,000 people who emigrated from places such as Jamaica and India to Britain between 1948 and 1971 as part of a free movement program between Commonwealth countries. This program was particularly encouraged by the British government, who were eager for people to help rebuild the country and stem the labor shortage that comes with sending your able-bodied to get machine gunned in a trench. These legal migrants — the majority of whom were children — went on to form a major part of British society and culture, despite the best efforts of the numerous racist and very-actual-fascist political parties of the time.
This nicely segues us to the present day, where at least 57,000 of these people are now falling foul of modern anti-illegal immigration laws. The Windrushers arrived in Britain at a time when immigration control consisted of double pinkie-swearing that you were good to go, so the government kept few records (foreshadowing!) and since the majority were children travelling on their parents’ passport, few migrants ever formalised their status and instead set about building good, hardworking lives. In 2012, however, the Conservatives passed a law mandating that all vaguely off-whiteish people present proof of their status as legal immigrants every time they apply for a job, house, or that famous free-for-all healthcare…which means that Windrushers are now losing those things and being threatened with deportation. As far as sensible immigration policy goes, this is up there with deporting anyone who had relatives at Plymouth Rock.
The outcry over this resulted in PM Theresa May delivering a heartfelt apology to the Windrushers, and Home Secretary Amber Rudd announcing the creation of a special team to help at-risk people prove their immigration status. She also apologised for the “appalling” treatment of the Windrushers and blamed the situation on a government that had “become too concerned with policy and strategy..and had [lost] sight of the individual” — an apology that directly implicated Theresa May, who originally drafted the anti-immigration laws that led to this situation, was once quoted (presumably, in Supervillain Weekly) as saying that she wanted to make the country “a really hostile environment for illegal migration,” and, in 2010, oversaw the destruction of all government-held records proving the legal immigration status of, umm…the Windrushers.
Good news, however. This whole charade means that the British government is going to be amazing at handling the 3,000,000+ EU citizens living in the UK who are going to have their immigration statuses thrown into question after Brexit. Or at least, they’re going to look amazing by comparison. It’s hard to think how they could mess up worse.
Sh*t. Jinxed it.
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