The Possibility Of Being Deported To St Vincent Scares Me

Vincentian national Joan Thomas is part of the Windrush generation that came to Britain as the country sought to rebuild after the Second World War.

The group is named after the cruise ship that brought one of the first large groups of West Indians to Britain.

In an interview with Sky News, Thomas said she called a Home Office helpline with her concerns over warnings that she and her peers could be deported unless they can prove they are entitled to be in the UK.

Thomas arrived at Heathrow Airport on 12 May 1965, at that time she was 12 years old, and came to join her mother.

“St Vincent is where I was born, but Britain is my home”.

“Now though, if I want to stay in the UK, it seems I need to find a piece of evidence for every year I’ve been here. Medical history, school history – they have to check it all”.

Who is going to keep an employment record back to 1972, when I started work, or their NHS access, or their P60?

It’s a daunting prospect she told Sky News.

Thomas said she have seen people in the news who haven’t got any documentation confirming their status, and that made her very worried.

“ I came here on a British passport. When I landed at Heathrow, they stamped it. I’ve still got that stamp, but I can’t recall having any other documentation to support it”.

The stamp said, “to join mother”.

I checked, and I haven’t seen a stamp that says “right to abode”. That’s what flagged everything up for me, and I’m feeling anxious – really really anxious, Thomas said.

“At the time, our parents didn’t think they had to register us. My mother didn’t, so I think she didn’t know”.

Thomas told Sky News that It is a great shock because they thought they were British. My passport said “British citizen”. My mindset is British; everything I do is British.

The possibility of being deported to St Vincent scares me. How am I going to survive in a country I don’t know?

I’ve read endless news stories, and seen what the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, is saying. She seemed very sincere when she said she would ensure that people like myself won’t get deported, but who knows?

“You don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know how they’re going to act. So we just have to wait and see”.

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