Chapter 9 Remember when Windrush was still just the name of a ship?
Open access

This chapter analyses why, in April 2018, stories about the ‘Windrush generation’ erupted on to every front page and news bulletin, despite the fact that the impact of the hostile environment on long-term migrants had been well known and well documented for many years. It highlights earlier warnings ignored by government, including the 2014 Chasing Status research (published by Legal Action Group), which identified the plight of ‘Surprised Brits’, who suddenly found themselves being challenged to prove their right to be in the UK, despite having lived here most of their lives. The chapter draws parallels between the Windrush generation and younger, long-term migrants, including those involved in the Let us Learn campaign. It will include vivid first-hand accounts from young people who grew up thinking they were British but are now being marginalised by Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’, and increasingly priced out of regularising their status by punitive Home Office fees. It discusses the further reforms that are needed and what migrants rights campaigners can learn from public and political reactions to the Windrush scandal.