Priti Patel’s Home Office has been disproportionately targeting Jamaicans for deportation.
And it seems clear officials know their actions are racist. Otherwise why would they have spent a year trying to withhold the information after The Guardian made a simple Freedom of Information request?
Jamaicans are 10 per cent more likely to be deported than people from other countries, even though the same rule applies to all of them:
Under the UK Borders Act 2007, foreign nationals who are jailed for a single offence for at least 12 months will normally be considered for deportation on their release, with exceptions under human rights rules – for example, having children in the UK, and for people who have been trafficked.
A comparison of Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Home Office data between 2015 and 2020 showed that once people from European Economic Area countries were excluded, as they are not covered by the act, an average of 65% of overseas nationals jailed for at least 12 months were deported.
For Jamaican nationals, this proportion rose to 75%, however, despite the much greater likelihood of their having significant ties to the UK. For other former British colonies in the Caribbean, such as Trinidad and Tobago, and St Lucia, the rates were higher still.
The statistics also showed that 90% of Nigerian nationals were deported, and 76% of those from Ghana. For Albanians, the rate was 90%, and for Vietnamese nationals 84%.
Concern has also been registered about deportations to Albania and Vietnam, which have known issues with human trafficking connected to organised crime.
The Guardian reported that it had only been able to publish its findings after “a year-long freedom of information battle”:
While the MoJ supplied the information within weeks, the Home Office refused, saying that to do so would be “likely to prejudice diplomatic relations between the UK and a foreign government”, and could hamper the operation of immigration controls.
The Guardian appealed to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which ruled against the Home Office, calling the department’s arguments “vague” and “generic”, and noting that no attempt had been made to substantiate them. “The commissioner will not accept at face value assertions made by a public authority that, in her view, require a proper and fuller explanation,” the ruling stated.
Even now, the Home Office has tried to justify its disproportionate targeting of people from Jamaica: “We do not target specific countries.”
The record states otherwise – because the Windrush scandal showed how the Home Office deliberately destroyed records proving that people of Jamaican origin had the right to remain in the UK, and then pursued an aggressive policy of deportation against them.
It seems Priti Patel has kept up the deportations, despite protestations of fairness.
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