I took part in the debate on the Home Office’s decision to deport to Jamaica a number of people who came to the UK many years ago, but now face being removed from the UK following a criminal conviction and sentence. It’s reported that many of those due to be deported are members of the ‘Windrush’ families who came to the UK as children when their parents came to help rebuild the UK economy after the second world war, have built their lives and families here, and have little or no connection to Jamaica.
While, of course, people who’ve committed serious crimes here should be punished, (and as part of sentencing, judges can order that criminals who aren’t from the UK should be deported), there are serious concerns about these deportations. I asked the Minister whether the government had properly thought about the impact that they would have on the families of those due to be deported, particularly on their children.
The Home Secretary has said that “around 20” people have been deported on a flight today, but there’s little transparency from the Home Office about who they’re deporting, whether they came to the UK as children, and even whether they’re British nationals. We know that some people from the Windrush generation have already been wrongly deported, or denied access to public services to which they were entitled. The government must now halt these deportations until the independent ‘Lessons Learned’ into the Windrush scandal is published, to make sure they don’t make the same disgraceful mistake and wrongly deport people again.