You’ll have heard about the deportation flight scheduled to leave for Jamaica yesterday, with 50 people who had all allegedly been convicted of serious crimes. The detail of how many and who was scheduled to leave was shrouded in secrecy. Many organisations and activists have been campaigning that no deportation flights should leave until the Windrush Lessons Learned Review is published. Lawyers managed to secure a reprieve on Monday night following an emergency ruling by the court of appeal.
In the small hours of Tuesday morning the flight left anyway with 17 ‘foreign national offenders’ deported to Jamaica and 25 people due to be on the flight remained. Yesterday, 12th February, there was an emergency meeting in Parliament convened by Diane Abbott MP to urgently discuss how activists, lawyers, stakeholders and supportive members of Parliament and the community can work together to stop these actions which maintain the government’s hostile environment, through which they believe they are communicating to the country that the government are ‘tough on immigration’ and ‘tough on crime’. The use of language such as ‘criminality’ has now become the term they use to justify their actions, such as trying to deport people who didn’t get proper access to legal advice. Do not think that people from different parts of the world such as Nigeria are not also being regularly deported.
As well as so many activists and campaigners from around the country, in attendance were MPs who have been standing up for those affected by this issue including Bell Riberio-Addy MP, Nadia Whittome MP, Abena Oppong-Asare MP, Claudia Webbe MP, Florence Eshalomi MP, Arthur Torrington co founder of the Windrush Foundation, Bella Sankey from Detention Action, Antonia Bright from Movement for Justice, Zita Holbourne from BARAC UK and the tireless Jacqueline McKenzie an immigration lawyer who has been supporting many Windrushers pro bono for years.
The meeting was informed about the conditions in detention centres such as Colnbrook, Yarl’s Wood and others, including a female detainee who was found not guilty to charges brought against her when 11 officers restrained her when she resisted being put on a flight to Nigeria.
We were given information on the events surrounding this particular deportation flight, and what happened minute by minute, and how the whole community needs to come together to fight the resurgence of this government’s hostile environment.
I will be liaising with those who are coordinating ways in which our voices can be heard and if you would like to get more involved, please contact me via email.
There’s also a petition on change.org: “Stop all Charter Flight Mass Deportations to Jamaica & Other Commonwealth Countries”.
Please join me in supporting this campaign by signing the petition! http://chng.it/kDxxPxdKGP