The UK Home Office has detained over 30 people ahead of a mass deportation charter flight to Jamaica on 11 August. Many of those detained arrived in the UK as children, and some have children in the UK. Campaigners, lawyers, and MPs are calling for the government to cancel the planned deportation, regarding it as an unjust form of “double punishment”. Organisers are urging members of the public to join the campaign to stop the planned deportation.
Another mass deportation to Jamaica
Campaigners have raised concerns that people who came to UK as children are at risk of being on a charter flight to Jamaica on 11 August. This includes members of the Windrush generation and their descendants. According to the detainees that campaign group Movement for Justice interviewed, some facing deportation have lived in the UK for 19 to 30 years.
Following legal interventions, the Home Office has stated that a number of those potentially facing deportation will no longer be travelling on the planned flight. But the government still intends to go ahead with the deportation. In November 2020, the Home Office agreed that they wouldn’t place anyone who arrived in the UK as a child on a charter flight to Jamaica. However, according to the Jamaica High Commission, this only related to a specific charter flight in December 2020. The Home Office removed 44 people from this particular flight, which was found to be in breach of human rights.
Stop the plane!
On 4 August, Movement for Justice campaigners protested outside the Jamaican High Commission calling on the Jamaican authorities to refuse the planned flight. Campaigners shared a video of distressed detainees speaking to protestors on the phone:
— Movement for Justice (@followMFJ) August 4, 2021
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Labour MPs joined calls for the Home Office to halt the planned mass deportation. Hackney MP Diane Abbott shared a statement, saying:
I am shocked to learn that the Home Office is planning another mass deportation on the 11th of August.
I urgently call on the Home Office to cancel these flights and end the Hostile Environment. pic.twitter.com/Q3FC1PpMeD
— Diane Abbott MP (@HackneyAbbott) August 4, 2021
Streatham MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy said:
The Government must cancel next Wednesday’s mass deportation flight to Jamaica.
Rather than ramping up the same discriminatory policies that have caused so much suffering already, they need to cancel this flight and end the Hostile Environment.https://t.co/H6CJlOJmJG
— Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP (@BellRibeiroAddy) August 4, 2021
On 5 August, Movement for Justice shared the news that five of those potentially facing deportation will no longer be travelling on the planned flight:
Update: 5 tickets cancelled for #Jamaica50 flight – all came UK as kids (3mths, 4y/o, 5y/o, 7y/o, 11y/o) we know of 3 w/ tickets who came u18 (9y/o, 10y/o, 11y/o & 17y/o). Maybe more not aware of. No1 should be deported who was born/raised in UK. #Jamaica50 #StopThePlane
— Movement for Justice (@followMFJ) August 5, 2021
Yet these individuals still faced the distressing experience of detention and the fear of potentially never seeing their homes and families again. These abrupt cancellations raise serious questions about the Home Office’s policy of automatically considering people for deportation under the 2007 Borders Act.
The campaign to stop the impending mass deportation flight to Jamaica is ongoing. Campaign group Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) is calling on people to sign the group’s petition and write to their MPs calling for an end to the government’s planned mass deportations over summer. Others are calling on people to boycott TUI, the main airline carrying out deportation flights for the UK Home Office. These mass deportations are a central tenet of the government’s racist hostile environment. We must unite to challenge all mass deportations, the unjust 2007 Borders Act, and the proposed, draconian Nationality and Borders Bill.
Featured image via Tim Dennert/Unsplash
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