News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Feb. 11, 2020: There was confusion and disbelief late last night as reports emerged that the UK Home Office had ordered Jamaican detainees moved to the Doncaster Sheffield Airport for deportation despite a last minute court order stopping the deportation.
A Court of Appeal judge yesterday afternoon ordered the Home Office not to deport people to Jamaica on Tuesday unless they had access to a functioning, non-O2 Sim card on or before February 3rd. But the government appealed and shocked many activists by ordering guards from the Harmondsworth and Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centres move detainees to the Doncaster Sheffield Airport for a charter flight of 50 deportees to Jamaica.
Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action which filed and won the lawsuit yesterday, late last night tweeted that the move “defies belief.”
BARAC, another black UK activist said he spoke “to people being taken from Harmondsworth to airport, they have been told by security guard that they lost their appeal & are going to be put on the plane when the won & it is government that lost the appeal.”
But by 1 a.m. UK, Movement for Justice tweeted that detainees from the Harmondsworth center were being returned from the airport to Morton Hall.
The #Jamaica50 deportation has drawn protests in the UK. On Monday evening, around 30 community groups participated in the second major protest demanding an end what they consider to be unfair deportation practices against British residents.
Between 150 to 200 people endured low temperatures and intermittent pouring rain outside UK Prime Minister’s Boris Johnson’s residence to denounce the latest scheduled mass deportations of British residents to Jamaica.
“We want human rights, no charter flights” they chanted. The demonstration against the charter flight began across Number 10 and travelled down Downing Street to the intersection with Parliament Street & Bridge Street, blocking four main roads.
The government has argued that the people due to be deported are hardened criminals and that their removal from the country is proportionate. “The people on this plane are people who have committed very serious crimes, whether it’s rape, manslaughter, murder,” said Rishi Sunak MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
But Lee Jasper of BAME Lawyers for Justice, said that deportees are made up of people with minor level convictions such as low level fighting, traffic violations and low level drug dealing, “not the serious psychopathic, rapist and murderers described by Boris Johnson.”
People who would have been British, “had their parents not been denied citizenship under the Windrush Scandal” are now finding themselves “subject to arbitrary deportation,” Jasper said. This is despite the fact that many have resided in the UK for 25 – 30 years, including those born and raised in the UK.