Deportation flight to Jamaica could include Windrush children, fear protesters in London

·3-min read
Empire Windrush docked in Southampton in 1954 (PA) (PA Wire)
Empire Windrush docked in Southampton in 1954 (PA) (PA Wire)

Campaigners are protesting against a deportation flight to Jamaica amid concerns its passengers could be children of Windrush.

Those at risk have lived in the UK from childhood according to Movement for Justice (MFJ) which is urging for the plane to be stopped.

The group is set to protest outside the High Commission Of Jamaica in South Kensington, west London, from 2pm on Wednesday.

Demonstrators believes the chartered flight, scheduled for August 11, could contain 10 Jamaican detainees from Colnbrook detention centre who have each resided in the UK from between 19 to 30 years.

The Home Office said the flight “is not linked to the Windrush Review or the wrongs that the Windrush Generation faced.

“None of those to be deported are British Citizens, British Nationals or members of the Windrush generation,” it added.

However a report shared on Twitter by the MFJ claims three are relatives of the Windrush Generation.

Meanwhile, six had indefinite leave to remain, one had successive short term leave to remain and three did not have secure immigration status, it claims.

In a call for action, a spokesperson tweeted: “Govt and UK Home Office try to sell charter flights as being about public safety.

“In reality, nothing to do with safety or protecting victims. Pure racist political theatre by a failing govt appealing desperately to their racist base.”

Those feared to be facing deportation are among a total 50 Jamaican detainees also referred to as #Jamaica50.

The MFJ report claims that the majority were convicted of non-violent drug offences and have served sentence plus additional time in detention centres, according to the group.

But they insist the detainees now face “a third punishment of deportation which for some could mean a death sentence.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We make no apology for seeking to remove those with no right to remain in the UK and dangerous foreign criminals.

“That is why we regularly operate charter flights to different countries – to remove foreign offenders, and those who have no right to be in the country but refused or failed to leave voluntarily.

The Home Office, which has continued to return and deport foreign offenders during the pandemic, does not comment on operational matters.

“Our new Nationality and Borders Bill will create an immigration system that is fair but firm, welcoming those in genuine need but cracking down on those who come to the UK illegally,” it added.

The Windrush generation are those who arrived in the UK from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1973.

The name derives from the HMT Empire Windrush ship which brought one of the first large groups of arrivals, with many taking up employment in sectors affected by Britain’s post-war labour shortage

In 2017, the Windrush scandal began to surface after it emerged that hundreds of Commonwealth citizens had been wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights.

On Monday, hundreds of people gathered in south London to mark Emancipation Day and to call for reparations and restored citizenship for the Windrush generation and their descendants.

The event, organised by a coalition of campaigning groups, was staged in Max Roach Park, Brixton where the crowd listened to speeches backing solidarity with African people as they marked the end of slavery in the British Empire.

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