On Tuesday 11 February, the Tories deported 50 people to Jamaica on a charter flight – only the second the Home Office has chartered to Jamaica since the Windrush scandal broke.
Many of those threatened with deportation have lived in the UK since childhood. Many have families here, families now facing not only heartbreak and chaos but in some cases destitution. Many of the deportees are at clearly demonstrated risk, for instance from gang violence, if they return to Jamaica.
The Johnson-Patel regime does not care. Priti Patel walked out of the House of Commons chamber as Labour MP David Lammy was asking about how this deportation relates to Windrush.
The attitude of her Home Office is summed up by its ruling that one deportee does not have a “genuine and subsisting” relationship with his wife and five month old child, and that separating them would “not be unduly harsh”.
(A few days earlier it emerged that 36 victims of the Windrush scandal have received any compensation, out of over 1,108 that have applied so far. Only £62,198 out of £200 million has been paid out.)
170 MPs and members of the House of Lords, mostly Labour, have issued a call for the flight to be halted. They have done that because of the energetic action of one socialist MP, Nadia Whittome from Nottingham East, with the backing of Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott.
Their letter calls for all deportations to be cancelled until the Windrush Lessons Learned Review is published and its recommendations implemented.
We can go further. The Tories are focusing on the minority of deportees guilty of serious crimes. Many were convicted of minor offences, many have had no legal difficulties since, and some insist they were wrongly convicted. But in any case, deporting people after they have served a sentence amounts to a cruel form of double-punishment, focused on migrants. It must stop.
This case is hit the headlines because of the Windrush angle, but all deportations ruin lives. They should stop immediately and permanently.