Socialist Worker

Tory ‘summer season’ of deportations shows up brutality of Britain’s immigration rules

by Isabel Ringrose
Issue No. 2765

A protest against a charter deportation flight in London in 2020

A protest against a charter deportation flight in London in 2020 (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The Tories are pressing ahead with a “summer season” of deportations.

The Home Office was set to deport 22 people to Vietnam—including some believed to be victims of human trafficking—on Wednesday.

And it plans to forcibly remove refused asylum seekers and people who’ve lived in Britain since childhood in the next few weeks.

A flight to Zimbabwe took off last Wednesday, but with only one-third of the people the Tories wanted to deport.

Fourteen out of 50 people were on board the charter flight from London Stansted Airport.

There had been a coronavirus outbreak at Brook House detention centre. And legal challenges meant some people’s deportations were delayed—although an emergency legal challenge to halt the whole flight failed.

The Tories had struck a deal with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s brutal regime in June. In secret meetings, British and Zimbabwean diplomats agreed to deport up to 150 people back to the southern African country.

British authorities rounded up Zimbabweans, including those who had arrived in Britain as children.

Meanwhile, the Home Office—according to its own data—is targeting people from Caribbean countries for deportation if they have a criminal record.

Removed 

Ghanaian and Nigerian nationals are also removed more than the average, according to the same figures which were obtained by the Guardian newspaper. The Home Office plans flights to both countries next month.

The Tories are using the UK Borders Act 2007. The racist law, pushed through by Tony Blair’s Labour government, made migrants sentenced to 12 months or more in prison eligible for automatic deportation on release. 

Exceptions include having children in Britain and victims of trafficking.

Terror and trauma—victims tell the terrible truth about the Tories’ ‘hostile environment’ policy
Terror and trauma—victims tell the terrible truth about the Tories’ ‘hostile environment’ policy
  Read More

But black and Asian people are far more likely to be handed longer prison sentences because of police and state racism. For instance, young black men were nine times more likely to be jailed in England and Wales than young whites, according to Ministry of Justice (MoJ) analysis in 2018.

On average 65 percent of overseas nationals jailed for at least 12 months were deported, according to Home Office and MoJ data between 2015 and 2020. This doesn’t include people from European Economic Area countries, which are not included in the act.

For Jamaican nationals, this rose to 75 percent. It was 90 percent for Nigerian nationals, 76 percent for Ghanaians, 90 percent for Albanians and 84 percent for Vietnamese nationals.

Under a deal agreed with Jamaica last year, the Home Office should no longer remove Jamaican nationals who moved to Britain before the age of 12. But people thought to be rounded up for a flight next month include a man who has lived in Britain since the age of 11.

The Tories are making it systematically harder for migrants and refugees to come to Britain—and to live and stay here even after many years.

Anti-racists have to fight to stop the flights—and to dismantle Britain’s racist immigration system. 


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.