Haringey councillors tell Home Office to cancel deportation flight
- Credit: Archant
More than 30 Haringey Labour councillors have signed a letter calling on the Home Office to cancel a planned deportation flight tomorrow.
The government plans to deport Jamaican nationals on a charter flight tomorrow, December 2, from Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre, Middlesex.
Labour councillor Daniel Stone said he began gathering signatures against the plan last weekend because Haringey residents have previously “faced discrimination at the hands of the hostile environment”.
Thirty-one Haringey councillors signed the letter, expressing “deep concern” over reports that those facing deportation have been “unable to access resources and legal advice”.
It states: “Five people due to be deported are the main carers for children whose other parent is a key worker. It is simply wrong to split up families in this way... To push ahead with this in the middle of a global pandemic, with the attendant increased risks of catching and spreading the virus for all on board the plane, is both reckless and wrong.”
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Labour councillor James Chiriyankandath, one of those who signed the letter, said he was unaware of anybody due to be on the flight having links to Haringey.
But he said Haringey councillors were especially sensitive to immigration issues after residents were caught up in the Windrush scandal.
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He said: “There has been a lot of concern about the whole issue, post-Windrush, of deportations, which has in the past affected people from our borough. It’s been a long-standing concern.
“We were rather disturbed when we heard about the resumption of these flights, after their suspension due to the pandemic.
“In the past the Home Office has deported offenders who were very young, had served their sentences and had never lived anywhere other than the UK.”
The Home Office told the Ham&High that nobody due to be on board the flight had been born in the UK.
A spokesperson said: “We make no apology for seeking to remove dangerous foreign criminals to keep the public safe.
“Each week we remove foreign criminals from the UK to different countries who have no right to be here. This flight is no different.
“The people being detained for this flight include convicted murderers and rapists.”
They did not say what offences the others due to be deported had committed.