A MOTHER of five Windrush kid who arrived in the UK aged six and who has lived here for fifty years was branded an illegal immigrant.
Sarah O’Connor arrived in Britain in the 1960s from Jamaica, but she then lost her job, was unable to claim benefits and became depressed and anxious over the saga.
She was one of hundreds of thousands who left the West Indies between 1948 and 1970 to come to Britain, but had never got around to applying for a passport and didn’t have proof she was allowed to stay here.
She worked and paid tax, national insurance and had voted for years – but ran into trouble when she lost her job as a business sales assistant, where she had worked for more than 16 years.
“I’m used to working, I’ve always worked,” she told the Daily Mail. “So when I was told I wasn’t entitled to anything…”
After attending a JobCentre she was told she needed proof of her right to stay in the country, even though Home Office officials didn’t keep records of those who had the right to stay here.
She couldn’t get another job as she didn’t have a passport or any proof she could work here. Sarah was forced to sell her car but still couldn’t afford the fees to get hold of a passport.
“I had a driving licence and Iâd paid tax and national insurance for over 30 years, but Iâd never been out of the country.
“So Iâd never really needed a passport.
“When I got home, I broke down. To think, Iâve been here more than half a century.
“All my family â my kids, my grandkids are here.
“Just imagine â after 30-odd years of working, paying tax, national insurance, voting, everything â to be told youâre an illegal immigrant!”
After much campaigning and working with her local MP she was given a biometric card so she can now work again.
Other citizens have lost their jobs, been handed huge medical bills and are told they could get kicked out of the country because they don’t have the right paperwork.
Windrush generation who are told they’re not true Brits
DOZENS of Caribbean-born British citizens say they have been unable to prove they have a right to live in the UK – leading to lost jobs, huge medical bills or even deportation.
One victim is 61-year-oldÂ Paulette Wilson, who moved to Britain from Jamaica as a child in 1968 and has lived here ever since.
Last year Paulette, who used to work in Parliament as a cook, was told by the Home Office she must leave the UK and taken to the notorious Yarlâs Wood detention centre.
After a week in custody, she was moved to Heathrow and was about to put on a plane to Jamaica – only to be saved by a last-minute intervention from her local MP, who pointed out there is no evidence she is an illegal immigrant.
Michael Braithwaite, 66, was born in Barbados but has lived in Britain since he was nine years old.
He worked as a teaching assistant in North London for 15 years, only to be told recently that he was being sacked because he canât prove he has a legal right to stay in the country.
The Home Office has so far refused to confirm his right to live and work in the UK, making it impossible for him to get another job.
Hubert Howard, 61, has had trouble with the authorities for more than a decade because he was unable to prove his exact residence history.
He was just three when his family moved from Jamaica – but because he never filled out the right form, heâs never been granted the British passport he is eligible for.
As well as losing his job and benefits, Hubert couldnât travel to Jamaica to be with his ill mother before she died.
Yesterday Amber Rudd apologised for the scandal which saw the Windrush generation at risk of deportation.
Officials said they didn’t know whether anyone had already been forced to leave the country and were quickly double-checking the records.
The Home Secretary faced calls to resign and Labour MP David Lammy branded it a “day of shame” for Britain.
Last weekend it emerged that No10 had snubbed calls to meet leaders from Caribbean countries, but swiftly u-turned on the decision after outcry yesterday.
Mrs May will meet with them today as part of hosting a summit for Commonwealth countries.
She welcomed her Jamaican counterpart to No10 this morning.