by Deanna Maria R. & Emmy Hikins
In today’s world, immigration issues are at the forefront in every government. When we hear the term ‘undocumented’, for many people, it means someone is in a country illegally by their own doing. Not so for Chiplyn Burton. In 1965, at the age of seven, Chiplyn arrived from Jamaica on her parent’s passport to the UK. Known as the ‘Windrush’ generation, many families from the Caribbean were allowed to come to the UK with “indefinite leave to remain” and considered citizens of the UK empire. After a trip to Jamaica in the 1970’s, Chiplyn tried to re-enter the UK, that is where her troubles began.
For 25 years (1976-2001) Chiplyn had to remain in Jamaica before returning in 2015, working and living as ‘undocumented’. During that time, and prior to receiving ‘indefinite leave to stay’, Chiplyn struggled with thoughts of self-harm due to her displacement. But, her story doesn’t end there. After legal struggles, she received the news she most feared, her leave of stay wouldn’t be granted.
Approximately two years ago, according to BBC News, the scale of the ‘Windrush’ scandal was discovered and Chiplyn was one of the victims that had been horribly mistreated. She than received news in November of 2019 that she had been granted indefinite leave and would be compensated for the injustice that she had endured. For Chiplyn Burton, no amount of money could reverse the damage done to her life or the scars that the ‘Windrush’ scandal caused.