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Campaigners express fears of imminent Jamaica charter flight after man detained

THE Home Office has begun detaining Jamaican nationals for a deportation flight next month, campaigners say. 

Those thought to be earmarked for the charter flight – the first to the island since December 2020, when 13 people were removed – include a man who has lived in Britain since the age of 11.

This is despite a quietly arranged deal between the Home Office and the Jamaican High Commission to not deport anyone on the December flight who had come to Britain under the age of 12. 

Karen Doyle, from migrant rights group Movement for Justice, said the man was detained last Thursday, suggesting that another Jamaica flight is imminent. 

Fourteen people were deported to Zimbabwe last week in the first of a new wave of charter flights this summer. It is understood that a charter flight to Vietnam, a country where human trafficking is prevalent, is scheduled for tomorrow.

“These charter flights are publicity stunts and they are preparation for the Borders Bill,” Ms Doyle told the Morning Star, referring to the Tories’ new legislation which seeks to massively increase detention and deportations. “It’s pure theatre, to drive through their far-right anti-immigrant agenda.

“They are going after people who have been here in many cases since decades, people who came as children.”

New figures suggest that the Home Office is more likely to deport people who have committed crimes if they come from Jamaica, Nigeria and Ghana, according to the Guardian, though the Home Office has denied that it targets specific countries. 

Under the law, non-British citizens convicted of a crime carrying a sentence of at least 12 months face automatic deportation, with exemptions for people who have been trafficked or fall under human-rights rules such as those who have family ties in the country. 

The Guardian reported that an average of 65 per cent of people who served a such a sentence were removed. But for people from Jamaica this number increases to 75 per cent, despite many having families in Britain. For Nigerian and Ghanaian nationals, the figure was even higher, at 90 and 76 per cent respectively.

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