Javid under fire over Jamaica deportation flight

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Home Secretary Sajid Javid is facing mounting criticism over a charter flight due to deport dozens of people to Jamaica this week.

Labour MPs called for the flight, believed to be scheduled to leave on Wednesday, to be suspended until the cases of those on board have been further reviewed.

Tabling an urgent question, David Lammy accused the government of pandering to “far-right racism, sham immigration targets and a dog-whistle to the right-wing press”.

Those due to be deported are all non-UK citizens who have committed a criminal offence and served a prison sentence, which means they are liable for deportation as foreign national offenders.

However, many have been in the UK since childhood, have British children and partners, and have never returned to Jamaica.

Mr Morgan arrived in the UK in 2003 and joined the army a year later
Image: Twane Morgan arrived in the UK in 2003 and joined the army a year later

One man believed to be booked on the flight is Twane Morgan, a veteran suffering from PTSD who knows no-one in Jamaica and says his mental health would deteriorate if he were sent to the country.

Mr Lammy connected the planned deportations to the Windrush scandal, questioning whether the government was not making “the same mistakes”.

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“Once enslaved, then colonised, and now repatriated,” he said. “Why is it that still in this country black lives matter less?”

The Tottenham MP said Movement for Justice, an activist group working with 26 of those awaiting deportation, had found that 13 believed to be on the flight came to the UK as children, and nine arrived under the age of 10.

He said 11 people on the flight had indefinite leave to remain, one had a British passport and that the removals would leave 36 British children without a parent.

David Lammy tabled an urgent question regarding the flight
Image: David Lammy tabled an urgent question regarding the flight

Mr Javid said none of the people on board the flight were British citizens and that all “had been convicted of a serious crime”.

“Every single person on flight that is being deported is a foreign national offender,” he said. “They are all convicted of serious crimes, very serious crimes.

“Many of those crimes are things like rape and murder, firearms offences, drug trafficking, and we are required under the law quite correctly to deport anyone that has such a serious conviction.”

He did not deny suggestions by MPs that the flight was due to leave tomorrow from a military base.

Activists in touch with those booked on the flight said convictions ranged from minor drug offences to firearms offences and assault, but that none of the 26 they had spoken to were known to be convicted of murder.

Several MPs said they had received a deluge of calls raising concerns about the flight.

Outside of parliament Satbir Singh, the chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, was among those to criticise the government’s blanket deportation of people convicted of crimes.

“It’s a convenient way for the home secretary to reinforce its rame of the good migrant and the bad migrant,” he said.

“If you have been here your whole life, particularly if you were born here, there is nowhere you came from to go back to.”

Activists working with those due for deportation told Sky News that legal efforts to offer reprieve for individuals on the flight were being pursued. In Harmondsworth, detainees said they are waiting for news.

“There’s a list and the names of all the Jamaicans are on it,” Showayne Thompson, 22, told Sky News.

“I don’t know anything about Jamaica, I arrived here when I was six and I’ve never been back.”

http://news.sky.com/story/home-secretary-sajid-javid-accused-of-pandering-to-far-right-racism-over-jamaica-deportation-flight-11628878

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