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UK Plans Repayment to Black Britons for Citizenship Snafu

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Black man on BBC

This October, which is Black History Month in Great Britain, those living in the United Kingdom have an additional reason to celebrate. The British Government is considering a plan to compensate residents of Caribbean descent for disenfranchisement they experienced when their British citizenship was wrongfully questioned recently. The British government is currently gathering feedback regarding a compensation plan and is scheduled to make a decision in November, according to a UK government press release

The move comes after British Prime Minister Theresa May officially apologized in April, for what is referred to as the Windrush Scandal. The Windrush Scandal refers to a period between 1948 and 1971 when the UK government invited immigrants from Caribbean countries and others to work in Great Britain because of a labor shortage. The event is referred to as Windrush because the Empire Windrush was the name of a famed ship that brought many of the immigrants to Great Britain.

Hundreds of children accompanied their parents who responded to the offer. Although those children, referred to as the Windrush Generation, grew up, lived, worked and paid taxes in the UK, they were not offered formal citizenship. In recent years, amid a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment, these long-time British residents have faced deportation, lost jobs and homes, and faced other difficulties because they were unable to prove the right to live in the UK.

An estimated 50,000 lawful residents were negatively impacted in some way by the tougher immigration rules. Advocates for those victimized say the government is taking too long to compensate victims, some whom were left homeless. Read more about what Black British citizens have endured here. 

The British Prime Minister, a member of their conservative party, stands by more stringent immigration rules, but has apologized repeatedly for the problems Black residents in the country legally have endured . A task force created to identify and help victims has provided citizenship documentation to more than 2,000 individuals and has helped repatriate more than 160 residents who were wrongly deported, and the work continues