Royal Wedding Celebrates Black Culture, But U.K. Gov’t Has Been Targeting Black Immigrants for Years

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NEWS EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE. NO MERCHANDISING, ADVERTISING, SOUVENIRS, MEMORABILIA or COLOURABLY SIMILAR. NOT FOR USE AFTER 31 DECEMBER 2018 WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION FROM KENSINGTON PALACE. NO CROPPING. Copyright in the photograph is vested in The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Publications are asked to credit the photograph to Alexi Lubomirski. No charge should be made for the supply, release or publication of the photograph. The photograph must not be digitally enhanced, manipulated or modified in any manner or form and must include all of the individuals in the photograph when published. This official wedding photograph released by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shows The Duke and Duchess in The Green Drawing Room, Windsor Castle, with (left-to-right): Back row: Master Jasper Dyer, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales, Ms. Doria Ragland, The Duke of Cambridge; middle row: Master Brian Mulroney, the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth II, the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Miss Rylan Litt, Master John Mulroney; Front row: Miss Ivy Mulroney, Miss Florence van Cutsem, Miss Zalie Warren, Miss Remi Litt.

While the royal wedding has been heralded for celebrating black culture, the British government is facing ongoing scrutiny for hostile immigration policies that have targeted black immigrants. Last month, British Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigned amid an escalating scandal over how thousands of Caribbean immigrants who have lived in Britain for decades are facing discrimination and deportation despite having legally immigrated to Britain after World War II. Known as the Windrush generation, many of the immigrants never formalized their citizenship after they immigrated from former British colonies. Now, following harsh new anti-immigration laws enacted in 2012, many of them are facing eviction, unemployment and the possibility of deportation. The British government has admitted that more than 60 people may have been wrongfully deported

 

The Windrush scandal, which boils down to the government treating British Caribbeans who are in the country legally—legal citizens—as if they were illegal immigrants. And in the U.K. at the moment, treating someone as if they are an illegal immigrant means treating them very harshly: depriving them of housing, their job potentially, and perhaps even deporting them.

 

the Empire Windrush docked in the U.K. in 1948. To give you an idea of the extent to which these people were part of the British Empire, were British subjects—the Evening Standard from 1948 with a picture of the ship on it, it said “Welcome Home.” That was the headline. So it was a real sense that these people are part of our country. And the wave of migration continued until about 1971.

 

There was one publicized case of a man who had cancer, and because he was being treated as an undocumented person, he was denied cancer treatment by the state healthcare. People were actually deported and threatened with deportation and lived with that looming over their heads. One man said that he was preparing to commit suicide if they actually went through with it and deported him to Jamaica.

think it seems clear that having an institution which embodies both feudal privilege and accrues so much private wealth and plays a political role in this country, whether it admits it or not, really has no place in a society which should be seeking to be just and fair, equal and democratic. The monarchy is not a democratic institution. It never can be. And so I think that absolutely if Britain is to consider itself a democratic country, the monarchy should be abolished.

There is absolutely no basis for any single family to accrue so much wealth, privilege, and frankly political power to itself. The British Republicans tend to make the case on the basis that it is anachronistic. As I have said, I don’t think that is the only reason to abolish it, but it certainly is incompatible with any country that seeks to be democratic.

And let me just add one other thing here. Meghan Markle has been able to join this family on terms which are not available to other people who are marrying foreigners. Under the hostile environment that has been created by the conservative government for immigration in this country, there are now minimum salary requirements before somebody who is a British citizen can marry someone from outside. And I personally know from students that people who don’t earn the equivalent of a minimum of $25,000 can’t bring their loved ones into this country.

So Meghan Markle is actually able to bypass a lot of the constraints and oppressive structures that other people have to struggle with, and that seems to be fundamentally unequal and undemocratic. And we need to understand that the hostile environment that other immigrants face in this country, which is only getting worse with Brexit, is not something that she is going to have to deal with, precisely because of undemocratic privilege.

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