Critics have called the move an insult to the Windrush generation, but Home Secretary Sajid Javid has defended the Home Office’s controversial deportation flight of around 50 people on a private charted flight to Jamaica.
The individuals on board the flight, due to leave the UK imminently, have all committed crimes in the UK, and were born elsewhere, but have served time for their crimes under the UK justice system.
In many cases, the individuals have lived in the UK for decades, with many detainees having regional British accents – but the individuals will be deported anyway, despite reports their lives will be at risk upon arrival to Jamaica.
“They are all convicted of serious crimes, very serious crimes,” Javid said in response to his critics, who include Labour MP David Lammy.
David Lammy MP: “How Can You Be Confident That You Are Not Making The Same Mistakes?”
Lammy has criticised the forceful removal of UK residents to Jamaica. Image credit: Wiki Commons
Lammy, MP for Tottenham, earlier questioned the government’s decision to deport the individuals, insisting the move echoed those of Windrush. The private charter flight would be the first flight of its kind to leave the UK since the Windrush Scandal.
The Windrush scandal relates to the wrongful deportation of around 63 people from the UK, all immigrants who arrived here between 1948 and 1971, who had initially been given indefinite leave to remain by the 1971 Immigration Act.
However, despite living in the UK for decades, many never received formal British citizenship. After changes to immigration law in 2012, many members of the Windrush generation struggled to prove they were legally resident in the UK.
Lammy said to Home Secretary Javid: “How can you be confident that you are not making the same mistakes [as Windrush]?”
Once enslaved, then colonised, and now repatriated: Why is it that still in this country black lives matter less?
David Lammy MP
He continued: “Once enslaved, then colonised, and now repatriated: Why is it that still in this country black lives matter less?”
Javid went on to condemn Lammy’s remarks and criticise his tone in Parliament, suggesting the politician “does himself a disservice to suggest there is even an ounce of racism in this house”.
Javid continued: “We are required under the law, quite correctly, to deport anyone that has such a serious conviction… most liberal democracies have very similar laws.”
Javid Apologises For Wrongful Deportations As Two Saved In Last-Ditch Legal Efforts
It has been revealed that two passengers bound for Jamaica had open applications to stay in the UK under the Windrush assurances – government confirmation that those affected by Windrush are guaranteed UK residency – but neither had heard back from the government in time to save them from deportation. Both have been saved at the last minute due to legal interventions.
One man named Lascelles White, 61, who was born in the Caribbean but moved to the UK when he was five, was wrongfully due to be deported.
The Stansted 15 faced criminal charges when they peacefully protested the removal of UK residents in another instance. Credit: Sam Walton/Twitter
Their removal was scheduled despite the Home Secretary insisting “none of those being deported are British citizens or members of the Windrush generation”.
Around 200 critics have condemned the government’s Windrush assurances for not being legally entrenched in an open letter co-ordinated by Lammy. He claimed compensation, and housing and legal rights were not protected for those Windrush victims seeking refuge in the UK.
In the same time period, Javid has also been forced to apologise for the proposed wrongful removal of one lady named Willow Sims, who moved to Britain from the US aged four.
I am absolutely happy to apologise… for the mistakes of the Home Office in not recognising the importance of her [Willow Sims] case right from the first moment she contacted the Home Office.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid
Sims was due to be removed from the UK after she lost vital proof of her indefinite right to remain. However important documents surfaced revealing that she was wrongly refused help after she lost access to healthcare and benefits.
Javid told Parliament: “I am absolutely happy to apologise to her for the mistakes of the Home Office in not recognising the importance of her case right from the first moment she contacted the Home Office.”
Deportation Could Threaten Individuals’ Safety
Unlike British-born criminals who serve their sentences and are freed, these people who live in the UK but were born elsewhere have been treated differently, a breach of their basic human rights.
Everyone has the basic right to seek refuge somewhere they have family, and are safe from persecution.