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Home Office seeking to deport more people to Jamaica despite living in Britain since childhood

THE Home Office is seeking to deport more people to Jamaica who have lived in Britain since childhood on a pre-Christmas charter flight, the Morning Star has learned. 

Passengers on the flight, which is scheduled to depart two weeks from now on December 2, includes fathers of young children and a man who has lived in the country since he was seven, according to campaigners. 

At least eight people have so far been booked onto the flight after they were detained and transferred to detention centres last week. 

Black Activists Rising Against Cuts has started a campaign to stop the deportation flight.

The group’s co-founder Zita Holbourne, who has been speaking to the families, told the Morning Star that they fear their loved ones will be deported before they have a chance to say goodbye because visits to detention centres are banned under Covid-19 restrictions.  

“They’ll not even be able to see, let alone hug and embrace, their loved ones and this is tearing families apart just before Christmas as well,” she said. 

The Home Office has confirmed that a charter flight to Jamaica will take place in the coming weeks. 

A spokesman said that everyone due to be deported is a “foreign-national offender” including convicted murderers and rapists. 

Ms Holbourne said that of the people she is aware of due to be on the flight, some have convictions for drug offences. 

All have young children she said, while others have no family in Jamaica. 

One person, who is currently in jail, arrived to Britain when they were just seven years old, she added. 

Under immigration law, foreign nationals can face automatic deportation if they have been convicted of a crime carrying a sentence of 12 months or more. 

Campaigners have described deportations of people who’ve already served prison time as a “double punishment.” 

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants public affairs and campaigns manager Minnie Rahman said that the Home Office’s decision to deport people in the middle of a pandemic is “inconceivable.” 

“The Home Office must stop exiling people to countries they have never been to, and should suspend all deportations for the duration of the pandemic — no-one's life should be put at risk because they don’t have the right piece of paper,” she said. 

The flight is the second to Jamaica this year, following the deportation of 17 people in February, some of whom had lived in Britain since childhood.

Many were removed from the flight by legal challenges, including a a 24-year-old who claimed he was groomed into a county-lines gang and forced to sell drugs.    

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We make no apology for seeking to remove dangerous foreign criminals to keep the public safe.

“That is why we regularly operate charter flights to different countries to remove dangerous criminals who have no right to be here.”

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