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Windrush passenger Alford Gardner recounts deportation warning from 30 years ago

ALFORD GARDNER who came to Britain on the Windrush, said today he was first warned about the possibility that Caribbean migrants could be deported almost 30 years ago.

The 92-year-old and his brother Gladstone were passengers on Windrush’s 1948 voyage from Jamaica to Tilbury Docks in Essex.

Speaking about the 70th anniversary of the journey this Friday, he said: “A friend of mine said to me he’d heard a whisper in high places that, one of these days, people like me could be thrown out of the country. This is 1987,” he said.

“They might have just come and said: ‘Right, out’ and there’s nothing I could do.”

Mr Gardner, who lives in Leeds, said he had responded to his friend’s warning by applying for British citizenship at a cost of £80.

He said it was “disgraceful” that scores of Caribbean people with the right to remain in Britain had been wrongly deported, barred from re-entering the country, and denied access to work, the NHS and benefits as a result of having no documentation.

“It shouldn’t be happening … People don’t realise how hard we worked to get this country back on its feet,” he added.

The Windrush generation has the legal right to reside in the UK as Commonwealth-born British citizens, but new laws created within the government’s "hostile environment" requires them to prove they have been in the country continuously since January 1 1973.

 

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