Members of the Windrush generation and leading lawyers have lamented the immigration system which is forcing people who have lived in Britain for half a century to prove their legal status.
Nearly 100 people attended a public meeting at the Black Cultural Archives on Windrush Square, Brixton, on Saturday, where lawyers sat down for clinics with people who may be affected by the Windrush fiasco.
Louis Smart came to Britain on the Windrush ship as a child in 1963, travelling on his mother’s passport. He did not register for citizenship at the time, and has now found it difficult to prove his status as a legal citizen.
“The school isn’t there any more and the archive doesn’t go back that far. I was left in limbo. I haven’t left the UK since I arrived here.
“When I came here, I was too young to have a passport,” he said.
“It was September 23rd 1963. On the boat. On the Windrush.
“I think the Home Secretary should resign. This is deliberate. The Government knows what they are doing.”
Danny Barnes arrived in the UK from Jamaica in 1972. He now runs a barristers’ chambers and was here to help people caught up in the Windrush situation.
He said: “I can sense a lot of anger and a lot of disappointment. This is supposed to be a government that protects its citizens and it has let them down terribly.”
Another lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie said: “I’m not a politician and my problem in making any call on Amber Rudd is that it’s the system at fault. Whoever is there has got a huge job to do, and somebody with the determination to sort this out should do so.
“That’s all people want,” she added. “They want evidence that they are British and then they can move on with their lives.”