The Home Office just attacked “lefty lawyers” after it tried to deport around 50 people to Jamaica. But it’s not the first time the government has used this language. Nor is it the first time a deportation flight to Jamaica has made the headlines. And on both occasions, the Home Office has shown itself to be “racist” and ‘brutal’ according to one campaign group. Moreover, the “lefty lawyers” comment has already incited hate.
As The Canary previously reported, the Home Office was due to run a deportation flight to Jamaica on 2 December. It wanted to send dozens of people there; individuals the Telegraph called “dangerous criminals”. Reports on the exact number of people the Home Office attempted to deport are conflicting. But as the Telegraph reported, in the end, the Home Office managed to deport 13 people. It noted that:
The 13 had been convicted of offences earning more than 100 years in jail and included three murderers, a paedophile convicted of grooming a child, and four drug dealers.
Although only three of the cases it listed were of “drug dealers”. The fourth drugs case, according to the Telegraph, was for possession.
But it also failed to mention what the people not deported had been convicted of.
In February, a previous flight to Jamaica turned into a national scandal.
As The Canary reported at the time, the government made similar claims about the people it was deporting being criminals. But MPs and campaigners disputed this. One example is the case of Osime Brown. A petition to stop his deportation said:
Brown is 22 years old, he is profoundly autistic and developmentally younger than his peers. Osime is also learning disabled, dyslexic and due to his time in care has since been diagnosed with PTSD, and suffers with depression.
Osime was jailed in 2018 over the theft of a phone in a street robbery, despite a witness for the defence stating Osime had not taken the phone and had in fact asked the other teens carrying out the robbery to stop. He got 5 year’s in prison under the Joint Enterprise Law
The joint enterprise rule allowed judges to convict people of crimes such as murder. The rule was used in situations where someone was involved, but did not actually kill the victim. As the Guardian reported, in 2016, the Supreme Court said that judges had been ‘wrongly interpreting’ the law. This has led to people raising questions about a number of convictions using the rule.
So, it is possible that the people on the 2 December flight who were not deported are not the “dangerous criminals” the Telegraph made them out to be.
“Racist” and ‘brutal’
As campaign group Movement for Justice tweeted:
13 deported on #Jamaica50 flight last night. 37 less than @ukhomeoffice wanted and 4 less than Feb flight. Resisting these charter flights is an ongoing & brutal battle but every human being taken off is victory for movement, for everyone who took action #StopThePlane (1/4)
— Movement for Justice (@followMFJ) December 2, 2020
It also said:
This government is steeped in racism, immigration laws are stacked against poor & working class black & Asian families – to win we need this movement not just today, but every day, for every racist injustice & brutality of this immigration system by any means necessary
But the government is unrepentant. In fact, it seems to be actively engaging in incitement.
A “Home Office source” told the Telegraph:
Lefty lawyers are going to spend all evening on the phones to judges in their pyjamas to try to get people who have committed heinous crimes dragged off this flight.
The Guardian reported that one legal case was bought by the children of one of the potential deportees. Another person on the Home Office’s deportation list told it that:
I’ve lived here for 20 years. What the Home Office is doing to us is like torture. They are killing us. My life is here, my kids are here. I can’t bring myself to tell my kids I’m being deported. I’m not a murderer, I’m not a rapist. I made a mistake by selling drugs.
Yet still, the Home Office pours scorn on those trying to protect the deportees and their families. Moreover, its source’s use of the phrase “lefty lawyers” is dangerous.
Real world consequences
Priti Patel and Boris Johnson used the same language earlier in the year. And it led former Tory MP David Gauke to write in the Guardian that:
Patel has attacked “activist lawyers” for frustrating the removal of migrants. In her conference speech, she attacked “do-gooders” for defending a “broken” asylum system, and predicted that those “well-rehearsed in how to play, and profit from, the broken system would lecture us on their grand theories about human rights”. Her remarks were soon echoed by the prime minister, who stated in his conference speech that the criminal justice system was “being hamstrung… by lefty human rights lawyers
There were real-world implications because of Patel and Johnson’s language. As Gauke wrote:
This is no abstract concern. This week, a 28-year-old man has been in court charged with a racially or religiously aggravated attack on 7 September on a solicitor at a law firm that has been involved in high-profile immigration cases. Subsequently, both the Law Society and the Bar Council wrote to the home secretary to raise their concerns about her language putting lawyers at physical risk.
It says something when a former Tory Department for Work and Pensions boss turns on the government. But that doesn’t seem to matter if you work at the Home Office. Because despite the outcry, the same language about immigration and human rights lawyers is still being used.
The Home Office is now one of the most toxic departments in government. This is on top of Patel being accused of bullying and abusive behaviour. There’s a twisted irony in that. Because the same attitudes civil servants accused Patel of permeating through the department are now being acted out by that department on others. The public pick up on this. After the source’s “lefty lawyer” comment, people on Twitter called them ‘scum bags’; called for them to be deported; said they were “enemies” of the “great people of the UK” and called for them to be ‘crushed’.
Not only is the Home Office is ripping families apart, but it’s also inciting hate against the legal profession despite previous warnings. This has to stop.
Featured image via the Telegraph – YouTube
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