CAMPAIGNERS ARE in uproar as Home Office heavies embarked on a round-up of Jamaicans ahead of a planned mass deportation charter flight to Jamaica, due to take place next month.
A total of 12 Jamaican nationals have been detained at Colnbrook and a further 4 have been taken in at Brookhouse detention centres.
The number of detainees is expected to rise sharply in the coming days ahead of the November 10th charter flight.
An emergency demonstration is set to take place outside the Jamaican High Commission on 4th November to oppose the deportation.
Karen Doyle, national organiser at Movement for Justice, told The Voice that the current handling of detainees is “inhumane.”
“One person had heard that the police had gone round to his partner’s house looking for him. He handed himself in to his local police station and they confirmed it was immigration, but he has a heart condition,” she said.
“He had a heart attack the last time he was in detention and had severe high blood pressure…a doctor has told him he is not fit for detention or flight…he could have a heart attack at any point.”
Health and safety procedures have also been brought into question with rising Covid-19 cases following an outbreak at the Colnbrook centre.
One detainee reportedly described the facilities as “disgusting” with rats and unchanged bedding being commonplace.
Detainees from different countries awaiting deportation flights have also allegedly been sharing cells.
Many continue to show their support against the pending charter flight with the hashtag #Jamaica50 appearing on Twitter.
National Chair of BARAC (Black Activists Rising Against Cuts), Zita Holbourne, has urged potential detainees to seek legal advice and support.
She went on to blast the Home Office’s continued targeting of nationals throughout the Caribbean ahead of the third charter flight.
“It does feel like they’re targeting black people disproportionately,” said Ms Holbourne.
“They haven’t implemented the recommendations of Windrush lessons Learnt and the majority of these people will be the descendants of the Windrush generation.
“We have to look at the impact on individuals and their families, because they are being torn apart and destined for an uncertain future when they reach Jamaica.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel announced new reforms in the Nationality and Borders Bill, which will force visa penalties on countries that do not cooperate with deportations.
However, Ms Doyle said that detainees often do not meet the legal requirements to avoid the powers of the bill.
“Two of the people I’ve spoken to came [to the UK] as children and groomed into county lines,” she added.
“The Borders Bill says that if you’ve been convicted of a crime of 12 months or more, they won’t consider you a victim of trafficking. Now, they are criminalised as adults and can’t even have the abuse that they went through recognised.”
The Voice has contacted the Home Office for comment.
During a summer of deportations to Jamaica, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, ministers have tried to create the impression that only hardened criminals like murderers and rapists are being deported but evidence shows many committed more minor offences.