THE PLANNED deportation of 50 people to Jamaica, many of whom came to the UK as children, shows that the Tories racist hounding of immigrant workers and their families is alive and kicking today.
This forced deportation is being rushed through in defiance of the recommendations of the review commissioned by the government in the wake of the Windrush scandal.
In 2018 it was revealed that thousands of immigrant families who emigrated to Britain at the request of the government after World War II were now deprived of UK citizenship by a Tory government that demanded ‘proof’ that they had arrived legally.
In order to make this impossible the Home Office had, in 2010, ordered the destruction of all the records that proved they had landed legally when they disembarked in Britain.
Following the outcry that resulted from the exposure of this scandal the then Tory Prime Minister Theresa May – the architect of the ‘hostile environment’ – apologised for her ‘mistakes’ and a review was commissioned to oversee the ‘Lessons Learned’ from this brutal campaign.
This review was due to publish its findings in May last year but it has been repeatedly delayed and its findings kept secret until last week extracts of a draft was obtained by Labour MP David Lammy.
The draft copy revealed by Lammy states that the government should ‘consider ending all deportations of foreign national offenders where they arrived in the UK as children’.
One of those facing removal came to Britain aged 11 and has been issued with a deportation order on the basis that he was convicted under the ‘joint enterprise rule’ 10 years ago and spent two months in prison for the offence.
Labour MP Dawn Butler said in Parliament: ‘The Home Office said everyone on the flight are serious criminals – this seems not to be true.’ She revealed the case of her constituent, saying: ‘He was convicted under the now unlawful joint enterprise rule and released after two months.’
In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled the joint enterprise rule, under which people can be convicted of a crime for just being present when it is committed, had been wrongly interpreted for 30 years, resulting in people being convicted of crimes they did not intend or commit.
But questions of legality doesn’t deter Boris Johnson who vowed in Parliament that the deportations will go ahead despite evidence that the claim they are all ‘serious offenders’ is false.
Johnson told MPs ‘the people of this country will think it is right to send back foreign national offenders’.
Della Sankey, the director of Detention Action, said that among those set to be deported were clients who had lived in the UK since the ages of five and eight. They had all their families in the country – most of them British citizens – and almost no connection to Jamaica. She added: ‘It’s shameful that the government has suppressed the Windrush report while scheduling next week’s (tomorrow’s) mass deportation flight to Jamaica.’
Along with deliberately suppressing the Windrush report the government has been doing its utmost to prevent those facing deportation from receiving legal advice. It took a High Court order last week to force the Home Office to admit that the mobile phones it issues to 678 detainees at the Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres didn’t work because these centres are not covered by the network coverage.
Detainees were denied access to legal advice necessary for them to appeal against deportation.
The Home Office admitted that telephone ‘problems’ meant deportees, including many of those due to be forced out tomorrow, have been denied access to legal advice.
What is clear is that Johnson is determined to carry on with the Tory hostile environment despite all appeals for them to stop and regardless of any laws that stand in his way.
The only way to put an end to the Tory hostile environment is for the working class to take action by organising a general strike to bring down the Johnson government and go forward to a workers’ government.
A workers government will welcome workers from anywhere in the world to come and live in a socialist Britain.