Socialist Worker

Home Office pushes for deportations to Jamaica

by Isabel Ringrose
Issue No. 2767

A protest against a deportation flight to Jamaica in central London last year.

A protest against a deportation flight to Jamaica in central London last year. (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Jamaican nationals who came to Britain as children faced deportation this week, despite an agreement to not deport people who arrived as minors.

A flight scheduled for Wednesday was set to remove some 34 people.

The Tories made alarmists slurs about the deportee’s convictions. But the majority were convicted of non-violent drug offences.

In any case, all have served time in prison. The deportations are effectively punishing them twice.

Several of those threatened have a history of being abused and raised in the care of social services.

Campaigners argue that these people have no ties to Jamaica, and have spent a lifetime in Britain.

Last November the Home Office agreed with Jamaican officials to not remove people who came to Britain under the age of 12. But they have since abandoned the agreement.

One person scheduled on the flight arrived in Britain aged two. Now aged 23, he is being deported and will leave his two year old son and unwell mother.

Deported man speaks out - ‘I have no work, no money and am in constant pain’
Deported man speaks out - ‘I have no work, no money and am in constant pain’
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“It feels unfair to send me back to a country I don’t know,” he said from Colnbrook immigration removal centre at Heathrow airport. “I did nursery, reception, primary school, and secondary school in England.”

Offence

Although he committed a drug offence, he said he had completed his two-year sentence.

“I’m not really a foreign criminal because I’ve spent all my life here. Everything I learned, I learned in England,” he said.

Many of those scheduled for deportation have been in Britain for upwards of 20 and 30 years. Javaun Simpson is 25 and facing removal despite having been in Britain since he was eight.

From Colnbrook immigration removal centre he said, “My head is everywhere—stress, anxiety. I’m scared. I have no one in Jamaica. I wouldn’t know where to go, where to start.

“It isn’t my home anymore—the UK is. All my family is in this country. I would be alone, stranded, not knowing what to do.”

Javaun, who served eight months in prison in 2017, added, “Just because someone has a criminal record doesn’t mean they’re going to be a danger to society. People change—I have changed.”

A number of the people who were detained in recent weeks have since had their removal directions cancelled after lawyers intervened. This has raised concerns about the validity of the Home Office’s decision to detain them for deportation in the first place.

The Tories are trying to prove that regardless of how long someone may have lived in Britain, no one is safe. Deportation attacks from the Tories based on racist stereotypes of immigrants coming to Britain to cause crimes must be resisted.

Love Music Hate Racism is taking part in a Barking and Dagenham council festival this Saturday at Parsloes Park in east London. Details here. Stand up to Racism will be at the Appleby fair in Cumbria to show solidarity with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people. There will be an SUTR stall 11am until 4pm on Friday and Saturday on Salt Tip Corner. Email here to help at the Appleby stall.

Far right targets refugees

The far right has made at least 70 attacks on asylum seekers in official accommodation since 2020, according to Home Office stats.

Campaigners supporting asylum seekers say this is an underestimation. The data covers 1 January 2020 until 13 July this year and covers attacks outside the decrepit Napier and Penally barracks.

Penally in west Wales was closed in March, but Napier in Kent has remained open. Hotels have also been increasingly used to house asylum seekers.

At Napier, four incidents were recorded between September and December 2020—with 12 occurring so far this year.

Just one incident at Penally was reported to the Home Office last year and none in 2021.

But asylum seekers living there have described a multitude of attacks.

These include an attempt to ram a refugee with a car, projectiles being thrown, rape threats, attempts to start fights, firework attacks and more.

The number of incidents recorded in hotels has tripled this year, with 40 reported, up from 13 last year.


Lies from Priti Patel’s department

The Home Office has set up a website that claims to provide independent advice to migrants planning to travel to Britain.

But Tory home secretary Priti Patel’s department failed to make clear that it was behind the website.

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) condemned the Home Office for producing an “unethical” website.

It says it aims to deter people from seeking refuge.

‘No human should have to live like this’—Harmondsworth detainee speaks out
‘No human should have to live like this’—Harmondsworth detainee speaks out
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The Information Commissioner’s Office received a complaint about the Home Office hiding its name from its campaign to deter migrants.

Clare Moseley from the charity Care4Calais said, “I’m shocked that our government is determined to spend time and money misleading vulnerable people.”

Yet a Home Office spokesperson said, “We make no apology for providing potentially lifesaving information to migrants.”

The Migrants On the Move website states, “The UK asylum process does not offer any advantages.

“It is safer and easier to apply for asylum in the country you’re in now.”

The Home Office promoted On the Move—a front organisation—to asylum seekers in France and Belgium as part of a £23,000 social media campaign.

Confidence

Mandy Pearse, the CIPR president, said, “Transparency in public relations practice is critical to maintaining public trust and confidence in our institutions.

“That is why it is so important that those working in the public sector adhere to the highest standards of ethical practice. In this case the Home Office has not done that.”

More than 10,000 asylum seekers have crossed the Channel so far this year.

The website implies that many of those crossing will not be eligible for free hospital treatment. But this is false.

The Tories are determined to keep out desperate and vulnerable refugees in any way they can.


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