Quartet author James Hanratty R.D. sat on the Windrush Lessons Learned Review. In today’s Express, he writes about the Windrush scandal and the shame this has brought on our immigration and legal system. We published the Revised Edition of Hanratty’s memoir The Making of an Immigration Judge in May, which includes new chapters on Windrush and his role in the Hong Kong handover of 1997. You can read the full
piece below and get your copy of this edition here:
The Windrush Scandal Must Never Be Repeated
Sitting as an immigration judge for 16 years I thought I had seen it all.
On the one hand were Nigerians pretending to be from the Ivory Coast,
Kenyans who claimed they were from Rwanda and Pakistanis masquerading
On the other were frightened and tortured people seeking asylum on
religious and political grounds from, among others, Sri Lanka, Eritrea
and Middle Eastern countries.
An Iranian who had converted from Islam to Christianity faced a death
sentence on their return and I was the first judge to rule that a
terrified child about to be sent abroad to undergo female genital
mutilation was entitled to refugee status.
The Home Office tried valiantly to sort out truth from myth while
applying insanely complex immigration rules.
Meanwhile, legal advisers to genuine claimants were hampered in some
cases by the withdrawal of legal aid and the removal of the right of
Yet all this paled into insignificance alongside the Windrush scandal,
which became a long-running sore on our immigration and legal system
after coming to light in 2018.
In a nutshell, British subjects, many members of the Windrush
generation, were wrongly detained, threatened with deportation and, in
more than 80 cases, actually deported.
The Home Office destroyed landing cards of the Windrush generation in
2010 and, while the Immigration Act 1971 provided for those born in
the UK before 1973 to have right of abode, the Home Office required
documentation going back 14 years. How many of us can produce a gas
bill that far back?
The Home Office presumed lack of documentation equalled illegality and
members of the Windrush generation and their children were cruelly
targeted. Others who had visited the West Indies were not allowed back
into the UK, notwithstanding the fact they had been resident and
paying taxes for, in some cases, decades.
Those affected lost jobs, housing, benefits and effectively became
homeless. I was privileged to be part of the official review of the
While lessons have been learned and a compensation scheme established,
the coronavirus pandemic has deflected attention from the plight of so
many innocent, dignified and loyal citizens.
As a nation, we must be ashamed such governmental action was taken in
our name. It’s incumbent upon all of us in this great nation to ensure
such a scandal is never repeated.
Former President of The Council of Immigration Judges and author of
The Making of an Immigration Judge: Revised Edition (Quartet Books, £15)
Buy this amazing book, if only for the valuable information it contains.