A charter deportation flight to Jamaica left the UK today, with 7 people on board – out of the 112 people originally scheduled for removal.
In Parliament today I pressed the Minister on the agreement previously confirmed with the Jamaican High Commission to not deport anyone who came to the UK under the age of 12. While he did not confirm the extension of this agreement, advocates suggest this might be a reason many people were taken off the flight.
When a child has been through our education system and our support services, and has grown up British in every sense, we have a duty to ensure that if they commit a crime, the British state takes responsibility for them. It is nonsensical to deport those who have never known another country, who came to the UK before they were ever criminally liable in UK law, let alone an adult with full independence and responsibility.
During the Nationality and Borders Bill, as part of Labour’s team on the Bill Committee I tabled an amendment to prevent those who arrived here before they reach the age of criminal responsibility (age 10) from being deported after committing offences. This was rejected by the Conservatives, but I will continue to make the case for those who moved here as minors.
I’ve previously written to the Home Secretary calling on her to ensure all scheduled for removal have had proper access to legal aid. You can read more about this here. I’ve also raised the issue of the Windrush Lessons Learned Recommendations which you also mentioned, and am disappointed to have not seen more progress on this.
Throughout the passage of the Nationality and Borders Bill Committee, I’ve repeatedly criticised the Government’s plans contained in this legislation, and have called out their plans to change citizenship rules to potentially make individuals (even children) stateless. You can read more about my work on the Nationality and Borders Bill here.
I’ll continue to challenge the Home Office’s hostile environment, and fight for better protections for refugees. You can read more about my work on asylum and refugee issues here.