Unjust Deportations need to Stop
Updated: Mar 8
At a time when humanity needs to come together and support each other; humanity is once again turning against each other.
Two days ago, in the early hours of the morning, 13 immigrants were forcibly put onto a home office deportation flight to Jamaica. The justification for these passengers being deported from the country was on the grounds that they were criminals or had partaken in criminal activities. Criminal, in regards to immigration enforcement and deportation is an incredibly loose term. Oftentimes the immigrants are criminalised and labelled as dangerous in order for their forcible removal from the UK to be undergone. Especially black immigrants. Black residents are already much more likely to be arrested and charged and imprisoned for crimes and thus deportations happen a lot more within the black community.
I don't know about you, but a deportation flight of supposed criminal immigrants leaving in the dead of the night seems pretty suspicious. If the criminalisation of these immigrants was based entirely on truth then surely the home office would feel completely comfortable with the flight leaving the UK during the day; in the light and not in the secrecy of the night. The truth is, the criminalisation of these immigrants didn't take into account their complex individual experiences; the hardships they had to go through when coming to the country; when trying to survive in a new environment; having to take care of their families all whilst trying to live with the constant trauma caused by the atrocities they had been trying to escape by immigrating. One of the passengers told the guardian
“I’ve lived here for 20 years. What the Home Office is doing to us is like torture. They are killing us. My life is here, my kids are here. I can’t bring myself to tell my kids I’m being deported. I’m not a murderer, I’m not a rapist. I made a mistake by selling drugs.”
20 years. These passengers weren't recent immigrants, they had already built their lives, put down new roots in England. Yet the government is ripping these roots right out of the soil without so much as a second thought about the damaging repercussions this could have on the individuals and their families. On their livelihood, their quality of life, their entire being.
Immigrants are not granted the same opportunities as the rest of us, their desperation to flea their homelands and raise their families in safer environments means they are more susceptible to exploitation. Wanting to provide a better life for your family is not a criminal intention, and yet they are being inhumanely taken from their homes and their families as if they were murderers and rapists etc.
The Home Office's response to the protests surrounding this flight was as follows,
“We make no apology for seeking to remove dangerous foreign criminals to keep the public safe. Each week we remove foreign criminals from the UK to different countries who have no right to be here, this flight is no different. The people being detained for this flight include convicted murderers and rapists.”
"dangerous, foreign criminals"; first and foremost, these passengers are human beings. They are equally as worthy of being kept safe. The government made little to no effort ask about the atrocities the immigrants had been escaping when they came to the country but instead put them on a flight that could place them right back in the situations they were trying to run away from.
The Home Office took no notice in the best interests of the children of these deported "criminals". These children even attempted to bring their grievances to the attention of the Home Office and Priti Patel. The children wanted to file for an injunction on the grounds that the flight would have traumatising consequences for the children whose fathers are being taken away from them but unfortunately this attempt was ill-fated.
A letter the guardian saw addressed to a judge in regards to the desired injunction heartbreakingly reads,
“People are making decisions about my dad. When they grew up they probably had a dad. The decisions they make mean I won’t have a dad with me.”
Although many of the people the government wanted to deport on this flight were able to stay in the country, 13 did not and it is absolutely awful that these rushed deportations are still being allowed to happen. This inhumane treatment of these people surely should be pushed aside during this time. A time when the world is collectively facing unprecedented atrocities. A time when families are being broken apart by coronavirus, there should be more effort made in trying to keep families together. Yet the home office did the exact opposite.
As Karen Doyle of Movement for Justice puts it,
“While there are many families desperately relieved this morning, there are also many children who just lost their father before Christmas at a time of pandemic when children’s mental health is already suffering.”