People who came to UK as children are at risk of being on a charter flight to Jamaica. This includes members of the Windrush generation and their descendants.
Home secretary Priti Patel and the UK government have once again deported UK residents to Jamaica – despite legal interventions and outcry from campaign groups. Amongst those deported was a 66-year-old with suspected dementia.
Deporting people to Jamaica
As The Canary‘s Sophia Purdy-Moore previously reported, the Home Office was set to deport dozens of people on 11 August. Some media outlets placed the figure at 90. It was sending them to Jamaica. Many of those the government detained came to the UK as children, and some have children in the UK. As Purdy-Moore wrote:
Campaigners have raised concerns that people who came to UK as children are at risk of being on a charter flight to Jamaica on 11 August. This includes members of the Windrush generation and their descendants. According to the detainees that campaign group Movement for Justice interviewed, some facing deportation have lived in the UK for 19 to 30 years.
Following legal interventions, the Home Office has stated that a number of those potentially facing deportation will no longer be travelling on the planned flight. But the government still intends to go ahead with the deportation.
On 11 August, the Home Office ran the deportation flight. The Guardian reported that the government ended up deporting seven people. It said that the cost of each deportation was around £43,000. But the human cost was far greater.
The Voice reported that there was an outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19) at the detention centre holding the people prior to the flight. It noted that:
those detained suffer from multiple health conditions and some are elderly
Karen Doyle from campaign group Movement for Justice told the Voice:
The majority of the Jamaica 50 detainees include people in their 60s and this puts them more at risk.
Also, as the Guardian reported, one of the deportees:
lost a child in a case ruled by a coroner to be due to medical negligence and he had to leave his partner, the mother of their child, to grieve alone.
Once the plane landed in Jamaica, the effects of the deportation became apparent:
*Update* #Jamaica50 the plane has landed. got call from confused 66y/o son of Windrush we suspect has dementia. They gave him £40, he has no phone of his own, he has zero family/friends in JA, needs care & medication – this is BRUTAL INJUSTICE! #StopThePlane #StopCharterFlights
— Movement for Justice (@followMFJ) August 11, 2021
Home Office: intransigence to suffering
But the flight is not a one off. The Canary has previously reported on other flights and the campaigns to stop them. Yet so far, the Home Office has shown nothing but indifference.
The campaign to stop the impending mass deportation flight to Jamaica is ongoing. Campaign group Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) is calling on people to sign the group’s petition and write to their MPs calling for an end to the government’s planned mass deportations over summer. Others are calling on people to boycott TUI, the main airline carrying out deportation flights for the UK Home Office.
Doyle told the Voice that:
The whole system of mass charter flight deportations is unjust. Those being held are more British than Jamaican, in some cases they have spent their entire lives here but are still facing removal. These deportation flights are unnecessary.
The flights are unjust, and the Home Office must end them. Whether it will or not remains to be seen but it’s essential that everyone keeps up the pressure to stop them for good.