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Advocacy

Working on close to 2,000 cases every year, at Praxis we hold an invaluable expertise and understanding on the effects of migration policies on individuals and families. Additionally, the Service Users Forum and our group work offer our clients platforms to convey their ideas and views on what are the most pressing issues impacting migrants’ lives in the UK.

 

At Praxis we seek and create opportunities for our service users to speak up about the issues that concern them the most, and for Praxis’ staff to influence decision makers on behalf of our clients.

In the first half of 2018 Praxis played a key role in uncovering the Windrush Scandal when we broke our former client Sylvester Marshall’s story on the media. Like thousands other lawful long-term residents, in the past few years Sylvester, also known as Albert Thompson, became a victim of the ‘Hostile Environment’. Despite having lawfully lived and worked in the UK since 1973, due to new regulations introduced by the Home Office he was denied all public services and support because he was unable to produce enough evidence of his legal status in the UK. As a result, he was evicted from his privately-rented property and in November 2017 he was asked to pay £54,000 for his cancer treatment.

Once his story became public, Sylvester quickly became the face of the movement that uncovered the Windrush Scandal and led to the resignation of the Home Secretary Amber Rudd. His case was discussed in Parliament on several occasions, and it created a wave of public support for the thousands of long-term residents who were denied the right to work, rent properties, access healthcare, have bank accounts and receive benefits despite lawfully living in the UK.

 

 

Having worked with dozens of members of the Windrush Generation who had been affected by the ‘Hostile Environment’ and were left at the margin of the system, we collaborated with media outlets such as The Guardian, BBC, ITV, The Daily Mail and Al Jazeera among many others to influence public opinion and push the government to change their policies. Both Sylvester Marshall and Praxis CEO Sally Daghlian appeared and were quoted on dozens of publications nationally and internationally, and they were invited to speak in Parliament at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Race chaired by David Lammy MP.

As a result of our advocacy work, the Prime Minister Theresa May profusely apologised for the way long-term residents had been treated, the Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigned and a dedicated task force was created within the Home Office to make sure that the members of the Windrush generation had their rights recognised.

In early July 2018, just four months after we broke Sylvester Marshall’s story on the media, more than 2,000 long-term residents had their cases resolved by the new task force as a direct effect of our advocacy work.

 

Other issues that our service users recently spoke publicly about are the effect that immigration fees have on their livelihood, on the importance to have access to good-quality immigration advice and on what it means to be undocumented for young people.


 

 

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