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OVER 150 MPs and lords from across parties have signed a letter urging the government to cancel a planned mass deportation flight to Jamaica.
“At least 41 British children are now at risk of losing their fathers through this charter flight,” Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome warned.
The letter, whose signatories include Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, was sent as it emerged that a man who has lived in Britain since he was 11 is set to be separated from his wife and baby daughter when deported on a charter flight to Jamaica tomorrow.
Reshawn Davis, 30, was detained on Friday and told he would be deported on the second charter flight to the Caribbean island since the Windrush scandal two years ago.
Fifty people are set to be on the flight after serving time for various crimes, the Star reported over the weekend.
A source told the Star today that one of the deportees was taken to hospital after taking an overdose, however the government has not confirmed this.
Mr Davis is being removed from the country on the basis that he was convicted for robbery 10 years ago under the now unlawful “joint enterprise” rule — for which he spent two months in prison — according to the Independent.
He lives with his British wife Tonique Kerr and six-month-old daughter in London and has not committed any crime since his conviction.
The Home Office said that it did not believe his family ties were strong enough to warrant him continuing to live in Britain.
Mr Davis said he is terrified at the possibility of being taken away to Jamaica, where he has not been for nearly 20 years.
Ms Kerr has said she would not be able to work and would have to claim benefits if her husband is deported. His forced removal would have a devastating impact on her and their daughter, she added.
Last week, Mr Davis’s solicitor Rachel Meates argued for him to remain on the basis of family ties but it was ruled on Friday that he did not have a “genuine and subsisting” relationship with his wife or child, and that it would “not be unduly harsh” for them to be without him.
Ms Meates said that his relationship with his wife and daughter are not being believed despite having provided a birth certificate, a marriage certificate and photographs of him and his family.
She added: “The Home Office has been quite manipulative in shutting down the arguments. There was enough evidence put in to suggest it was a genuine relationship — and I don’t know what more evidence we can submit from a five-month-old.
“It highlights the culture of disbelief that comes with the hostile environment.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The planned charter flight to Jamaica is specifically for removing foreign criminals. Those detained for removal include people convicted of manslaughter, rape, violent crime and dealing class A drugs.”
Shadow immigration secretary Bell Ribiero-Addy had told the Star when the charter flight was announced that people scheduled to be removed are “facing a triple punishment” that “would not be applied to their white peers — sentencing, detention and deportation.”
Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy said that the planned deportations amounted to “institutional racism.”
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland yesterday rejected claims of institutional racism as “unfair,” insisting that the authorities had a “duty” to remove foreign national offenders from the country.
He told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “What we are looking at is a cohort of foreign national offenders. Whatever their ethnicity and background, we have to take action. The British public would expect no less.”
A draft copy of the Windrush Lessons Learned report, leaked to the media on Thursday, said ministers should consider ending the practice of deporting people who arrived in Britain as children.
A second reading of the Windrush Compensation Scheme Bill will take place tomorrow in the Commons.
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