A LAST-DITCH legal attempt by two children to stop their father being forced onto a plane and deported to the Caribbean failed on Tuesday, leaving their family ripped apart.
A letter to the court to attempt to stop the flight and a drawing from his 10-year-old son were addressed to the judge. It read: ‘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.’
The charity Detention Action, which intervened in the case, said some of the behaviour displayed by children whose parents had been deported includes bed-wetting, hitting their head against the wall, low moods and suicidal thoughts.
One of the men who was put on the deportation flight said: ‘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.’
On Tuesday evening, detainees were taken from three Home Office detention centres – Pennine House in Manchester, Colnbrook, near Heathrow Airport, and Brook House near Gatwick Airport. The largest number who boarded the plane came from Brook House. Many due to fly were removed from the plane following successful last-minute legal appeals relating to their individual cases.
Documents lodged in the High Court by the Home Office stated that its intention was to remove as many as 50 Jamaican nationals.
The mass deportation became a high-profile issue after a series of campaigns including one from 82 black public figures – among them the author Bernardine Evaristo, the model Naomi Campbell and the historian David Olusoga – who urged airlines not to operate the Home Office flight.
Several NGOs, dozens of solicitors and barristers including 11 QCs signed a letter saying the deportation flight was unlawful, unjust and racist.
More than 60 MPs and peers signed a letter to the Tory Home Secretary, Priti Patel, calling for the flight to be cancelled, and a petition from BARAC UK and BAME Lawyers for Justice attracted more than 180,000 signatures.
Bella Sankey, the director of Detention Action, said: ‘This cowboy operation was stopped in its tracks by judges intervening to defend those whose lives are at risk in Jamaica. But the tragedy of this tale is the many devastated children who have had a loving parent forcibly ripped from their lives without any consultation or being able to make their voice heard. This is child cruelty plain and simple and it will not stand.’
Charter flights to Jamaica are particularly controversial because of the Windrush scandal. It has been 72 years since the Empire Windrush landed at Tilbury Docks bringing hundreds of people to live and work here from the Caribbean.
When Theresa May was Home Secretary she created a ‘Hostile Environment’ which resulted in thousands of people who came to Britain from the Caribbean being wrongly denied rights, banned from even using the NHS, losing their jobs, losing their homes, incarcerated in detention centres and in many cases deported to places they barely knew.
Current Tory Home Secretary Patel has embraced May’s ‘Hostile Environment’ and enhanced it, launching a new refugee camp in an old army barracks in Folkestone, Kent, spitting poison at the desperate refugees that attempt to cross the Channel in flimsy rubber dinghies, only to be rounded up and deported ‘back to where they came from’.
Patel has also introduced measures that allow homeless people from EU countries to be rounded up, bundled into vans, held in detention centres and then forced onto planes. Wednesday’s charter flight to Jamaica is the latest attack by Patel and the Tories.
Racist deportations must be stopped. They cannot be stopped by just celebrity protests, however worthy they are. The strongest force in the country is the trade union movement made up of millions of workers of all colours and many national origins.
The millions of trade union members must now take action to halt racist deportations and bring down the government that is authorising them.
The trade unions must call a general strike to remove the Johnson government and replace it with a workers’ government and the nationalisation of the banks and the major industries to bring in a workers’ state.
This will welcome all immigrants and work to make the planet a home for all workers by getting rid of capitalism on a world scale and bringing in world socialism!