On 10 February 2020, the British Court of Appeal reprieved at last minute the deportation to Jamaica of twenty-five people on the grounds that an outage inside the Heathrow detention centres had prevented the group from making external calls and require legal assistance.
The deportation order was initially issued to about fifty people, previously sentenced for criminal offences and convicted to jail for 12 months or more. After the Court’s injunction, half of them were deported, although they already served their sentence in the UK.
According to David Lammy, the labour MP for Tottenham, many of those who were deported are “more British than Jamaican”, considering that they spent most of their life in the UK and at least forty-one British children were separated from their fathers due to the deportation.
Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action, stated: “For many of these individuals deportation is a much harsher sentence than the time they’ve already served. Imagine being forever banished from the country you grew up in, unable to visit all of your close family and friends”.
After the episode, the British Government expressed concern about the use of the juridical review to challenge Home Office decision and stressed the intention to limit its use.
For further information:
- ECRE, UK: Pre-Removal Detention of Asylum Seekers Confirmed Unlawful, November 2019
- ECRE, UK: Report Catalogues Fifteen Years of Home Office Failures, September 2019
- ECRE, UK: Whistleblowers Allege Chaos and Violations of the Rights of Asylum Seekers in UK Home Office, 3 May 2019
- AIDA, Country Update: United Kingdom 2018, 14 March 2019
Photo: (CC) Blogtrepreneur, July 2016
This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.