Members of Manchester’s ‘Windrush generation’ met to express fear for their futures despite decades in the city.
Some of those who came from the Caribbean from the late 1940s to the early 1970s have found themselves having to ‘prove’ their status as British Citizens in a crackdown by the Home Office.
The ‘Windrush generation’ are called after the name of the first ship to bring migrants from the Caribbean.
Theresa May has been branded a ‘disgrace’ over the scandal.
She admitted the treatment of some had been 'regretful' during an apology in which she set up a taskforce to help deal with cases.
Campaigners in Manchester’s Afro-Caribbean community now say there is widespread anger and fear.
They called an emergency meeting where those affected, and others, could come to discuss their concerns. And they now plan to take up the cases of those who are worried about their status.
Several people told the meeting they felt at risk of deportation, despite having British passports issued in former British colonies or foreign passports marked upon their arrival.
They say they feel ‘trapped’ here as they don’t want to leave the country in case they are not allowed back in. And they now want clarification about their status, and guarantees about their future, from the government.
They also hit out at the government for the so-called ‘hostile environment’ that has been created for migrants in the country in recent months.
The meeting, held at the Windrush Millennium Centre in Moss Side, was called by a number of groups based in south Manchester’s Afro-Caribbean community including Black Activists Rising Against Cuts.
Colette Williams from the group said:
Ikem Nzeribe, 46, who initially called the meeting said:
The meeting was attended by Gorton MP, and shadow immigration minister, Afzal Khan, who has vowed to take up the cases of those who have concerns.
It plans to try and reach out to more of those who may be affected and offer help and support as well as lobbying the government for action.
Everald Pryce, 71, came to the UK from Jamaica aged 14 in March 1962 - five months before the island nation gained its independence.
He went on to build a life in Manchester, spending 37 years working as a bus driver in the city, having five children, six grandchildren living first in Whalley Range and then Moston in north Manchester.
He held a passport marked ‘British’ issued before Jamaican independence.
However problems arose when he tried to visit his county of origin in 2004 when his father, who he hadn’t seen for 37 years, died.
He was warned by a travel company he may struggle to get back into the country with that documentation and he says he has been ‘trapped’ since.
He says he has been told trying to obtain formal British Citizenship would cost him upwards of £1,000.
Raymond Clarke, 63, who lives in Oldham, came over to Britain from Jamaica in 1969, after the country’s independence, but on his mother’s passport who had been a British citizen since the 1950s.
He says his passport was stamped at the time saying he had the right to remain but his parents should have got him an updated document, which they failed to do.
He now has eight children and 15 grandchildren after years working in a variety of jobs from cleaning to security.
Anthony Brown, 57, came over with his family in 1973 and attended Gorse Hill Primary and then Stretford Grammar.
He returned to Jamaica with his parents and his brother for a period of two years ten months, leaving two of his siblings behind. However, under a law passed at the time by being out of the country for more than two years he was said to have revoked his right to remain.
And after returning permanently in 1977 he was warned he may be deported. That sparked a huge media storm and backlash both in Manchester and across the country with a petition gaining thousands of signatures.
The case was taken up the then MP for Stretford, Winston Churchill, grandson of the wartime PM, and Anthony was eventually granted indefinite leave to remain.
He addressed the meeting and speaking to the M.E.N afterwards he said:
He says rules brought in in 2014 requiring migrants to present their passport when they get healthcare etc caused him further worry and recent events and he has rung the specially set up hotline and reached out to the Home Office, but will only discuss full citizenship and has dismissed their offer of a ‘residence permit.’
He has now offered to help any Windrush migrants resolve their situation.Mr Brown who has worked in business and recently completed a law degree said: