Dear Home Secretary,
The Young Liberals write to you, with support of the wider Liberal Democrat membership and those with other political affiliations, with our concerns regarding the scheduled deportation of up to fifty people to Jamaica on Wednesday 2nd December 2020. We wish to add our voices to those of esteemed organisations such as BARAC UK & BAME Lawyers for Justice, who are urging the Home Secretary to reconsider the proposed action in line with legal and moral considerations.
We note with significant alarm the Home Secretary’s lack of confirmation that a review of Home Office policies will take place to ensure that the Home Office’s current practices comply with equalities legislation.
The ‘deport now and appeal later’ principle underpinning the Home Office’s ongoing Hostile Environment Policy preys on minority ethnic individuals without sufficient money, connections, or support in the UK, acting in a highly discriminatory way.
We wish to reiterate ongoing concerns about the systematic prejudices of the Home Office, with the Home Office failing to implement the total findings and recommendations of the ‘Windrush Lessons Learned Review’, the Joint Committee on Human Rights’ Report on ‘Black People, Racism and Human Rights’, or the 2018 Shaw Report which recommended that the Government should not deport those born or brought up in the UK.
The COVID-19 pandemic raises further concerns about the health and safety of the people at risk of deportation. Deportees are handcuffed to an officer - two officers once on the plane - which is a clear risk to their health and lives, especially during a pandemic which places Black people at four times higher risk of death than white people. Furthermore, it has been made unclear as to whether the Jamaican government will be willing or able to house them in COVID-safe conditions, once again putting their lives at risk.
We call on you, the Home Secretary, to cancel the scheduled deportation flight and enact the findings of reports into the Home Office’s discriminatory policies which include not deporting those born or bought up in the UK.
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