A disabled man who was one of the 17 people deported to Jamaica on Tuesday says he’s living in “constant pain” because he doesn’t have access to medication.
Rayan Crawford, who suffers from a rare bone condition known as Blount Disease and inflammatory arthritis, is now trying to survive in Montego Bay in Jamaica. He told Socialist Worker, “My joints have swelled up because there is no free heath care and no free medication.
“I’ve got some paracetamol, but when I take it I’m still in pain.
“I’m going to have to see the doctor, but in Jamaica you have to have money for everything.”
Rayan, who came to Britain aged 12, lived in Tower Hamlets in east London with his partner Jana and their two sons. “No one who left a country when they’re 12 years old is going to have a house or other stuff to survive,” he said.
Rayan is now living in poverty with his sister and their children. Even that is “only temporary,” he explained. “She’s got the children, the little one and I’m sleeping on a couch.
“I have no money and no work and support is non-existent.”
Rayan had indefinite leave to remain in Britain until the Home Office sent him a deportation order in March 2018. He was serving a short prison sentence for a minor burglary offence at the time.
This meant he had to sign on with immigration officials in London Bridge every Monday. Then one morning on 27 January, Rayan went to the appointment and “was told, ‘We’re detaining you.’.”
He said that detention and deportation is “just like being kidnapped”. “You’re sitting in the holding cell for about seven hours waiting for the bus to take you to the detention centre,” he described.
“You don’t know where you are or when you will be deported.”
After two weeks in Brooke House detention centre near London Gatwick Airport, Rayan was taken to Doncaster Sheffield Airport in the early hours of last Monday. “You’re in the room and about ten big guys come running in, put you in handcuffs and put you on a coach to the airport,” he said.
“You’re on there for 11 hours with guys sat next to you, you can’t stretch at all.
“You’re then in the plane for ten hours, just constantly sitting for hours. I was in so much back pain.”
The Tories wanted to deport at least 50 people to Jamaica last week in one of the first charter flights since the Windrush scandal of 2017. A last minute Court of Appeal order blocked the deportation of people who were being held at Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres.
But the Tories have made clear that they will push ahead with mass deportations.
There are rumours that the Home Office is arranging another deportation flight to Jamaica this week.
There need to be more protests in response, such as the ones that blocked Whitehall in the run-up to the last charter flight.
Activists must campaign to stop all deportations and end Britain’s racist immigration system.
The Tory government has agreed to press ahead with plans to make Britain’s immigration rules even more brutal.
A cabinet meeting last week backed an “Australian-style points-based system” after Britain fully leaves the European Union (EU) in January 2021.
Home secretary Priti Patel is due to announce details of the plans which are set to be rolled out from early next year.
The decision comes ahead of a new Immigration Bill.
This is expected to be put before parliament in March. It will likely create a false division between “high” and “low” skilled migrants.
Those deemed to be “low skilled” would only be able to come to Britain on a temporary visa. They would also be denied the right to bring family members here.
Any division in the working class makes it harder to fight the Tories and the bosses.
Anti-racists must campaign against the Immigration Bill and the “points-based system”.
We must fight to defend and extend free movement.
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