DESPITE LOFTY rhetoric in the wake of the Windrush scandal, after which the Conservatives promised to “ensure it never happens again”, the recent deportation flights have made it clear that the racist “hostile environment” policy instituted under the Tory -Lib Dem coalition continues in full force.

Seventeen black British men, many of whom were brought here as children as young as three, are now being escorted, handcuffed often, onto flights by security guards and forcibly deported to Jamaica. Naturally many know nobody there; those who were living free, and peacefully for the most part, went with the clothes they stood in, no chance to pack or say goodbye. Cruel Britannia!

Originally there were going to be 50 deportees on the flight that left on 11 February. A court of Appeal ruled that 25 of the men had been unable to access legal aid due to lack of mobile phone coverage, itself a scandal that they only got to try at the airport.

All of the deportees have been convicted and completed their prison sentences in the UK. Savid Javid said on BBC Radio 5 that, “These are all foreign national offenders – they have all received custodial sentences of 12 months or more…” Owen Haisley, who has lived here for 41 of his 45 years, and has three children, a “foreign national”? Clearly you’re never really British unless you’re a white “native”!

Never mind, the racist got worse when he finished his sentence, “…they are responsible for crimes like manslaughter, rape, dealing in class-A drugs.” This is a lie, repeated by the Home Office and Downing Street, even Boris Johnson in parliament. And it deliberately builds on the racist stereotype of young, black British men.

In fact, most of those being deported were not convicted of violent crimes. Even of those who were, many – many – of them have not reoffended and were trying to rebuild their lives. Now, not just they, but their partners and children are deprived of their support and love.

Now leaving to one side the fact that, according to official UK police statistics, black people are almost 3 times as likely to be arrested when compared to the population as a whole, these are people who have already served their sentence for whatever crime they may have committed. To then deport these people upon completion of their sentence is both racist and barbaric.

The individuals concerned often have no family, friends or links of any kind to the country to which they are being deported. They arrive in an unknown country in a perilous situation, often without shelter or any funds. The deportations also constitute a form of “social dumping” in which supposedly undesirable individuals are removed from the British population and sent to live in far poorer countries who are then expected to support them.

The deportation flights often deport people who have done nothing wrong whatsoever. Some, such as a 24-year-old who moved to the UK when he was 4 years old, have claimed innocence of the crime which resulted in their imprisonment. The Radical Statistics Group puts the rate of wrongful convictions in the British criminal justice system at close to 10%. It is therefore impossible to state with any certainty that these individuals are guilty of any crime whatsoever.

The results of deportation are often violent, with at least 5 people having been murdered once they arrived in Jamaica, including the widely reported murder of Dewayne Robinson on 4 March 2018. At least seven of the 17 deported on 11 February have gone into hiding, so much have they heard of the violence meted out to British deportees.

Red Flag is completely opposed to both the cruel and dehumanising policy of double punishment for black criminals, or any other group, including EU nationals, and of all deportations.

This racist populist government is pressing ahead with stalled Tory policies, bending or breaking the rules and tearing up what meagre protection the EU rules afforded ethnic minorities. If we don’t act now, things will only get worse.

The labour movement should stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters who face deportation. Workers should use all political tools at their disposal, including strikes, blockades, and occupations in order to stall these racist deportations.

The correct political solution is not to “fast-track” applications for deportation, or set arbitrary targets which are likely to result in further miscarriage of justice, but to abandon the racist border regime altogether, giving equal citizenship and residency rights to all migrants.

  • Close the detention centres!
  • Disband the UK Border Agency!
  • Scrap the No Recourse to Public Funds policy!
  • Equal rights for all residents!