The Home Office just destroyed more families as it deported another 35 people to Jamaica

Titan airways plane
Fréa Lockley

On 6 February, the Home Office deported around 35 people to Jamaica. This came on the same day that the Stansted 15 were sentenced for their role in trying to prevent this brutal practice that destroys lives and families. No matter what home secretary Sajid Javid may say, the Windrush crisis is far from over. The UK’s ‘hostile environment‘ is getting worse.

End Deportations

In May 2018, Javid admitted that at least 63 “members of the Windrush generation could have been wrongfully removed or deported from the UK since 2002”. So on 5 February 2019, Labour’s David Lammy asked Javid to rule out the possibility of further mistakes for the men due to be deported. He also asked:

Once enslaved, then colonised, and now repatriated… Why is it that in this country, black lives mean less?

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Javid defended the deportations claiming all had “been convicted of a serious crime”. He also claimed none were UK citizens or members of the Windrush generation.

This stood in stark contrast to other reports:

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And further details emerged about some of the people removed on buses. 11 people had indefinite leave to remain, many lived in the UK since they were children, and all have families here:

Later, it emerged that six people were granted leave to stay. But there was no hope for around 35 other people. A Titan Airways charter flight left at 8.16am:

“Until there is justice”

As Satbir Singh, chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said:

It’s inappropriate for the government to resume mass deportations, particularly to the Caribbean, before the Windrush Lessons Learned review has even concluded.

Labour MPs have also continued to place pressure on Javid and the Home Office over resuming deportations before resolving the abuse of the Windrush generation. As Lammy said, it’s a “national scandal”; and Dawn Butler also stated that “it’s a disgrace and it’s a stain on our country”.

In total, 57 Labour MPs also tried to stop this deportation flight:

And Green Party MP Caroline Lucas condemned these deportations too:

Most importantly, we should never forget how vulnerable the hostile environment makes too many people feel:

Solidarity and support

There are growing moves to place pressure on Titan Airways:

In a savage twist of irony, the deportations took place on the same day of the Stansted 15 sentencing. They answered a “call for help” and stopped another Titan Airways deportation flight:

And yet, as The Canary reported, they faced terrorism charges. Lammy also made this link clear:

The UK’s hostile environment wrecks families and destroys lives. We know that the government made mistakes with at least six people on this flight. So how many more innocent people may be on that plane? No matter what defence Javid gives, it’s a sickening reflection of a twisted government.

Featured image via Wikimedia – Adrian Pingstone

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