Home Secretary Priti Patel

The Home Office plans to deport around 50 Black British residents on a charter flight to Jamaica on December 2, the day national lockdown in England is scheduled to end.

A similar flight planned for February led to public outcry and several legal interventions, stopping 25 people being deported. In the end, 17 people were deported on that flight. Such flights, where a plane is commissioned entirely for the deportation of residents, have come to be seen as central elements of the ‘hostile environment’ – a collection of policies aimed at making life unbearable for undocumented people in the UK.

The announcement of the new flight has led to criticism of the Home Office, in a week where the Equality and Human Rights Commission found the department had breached equality law when implementing its ‘hostile environment’ measures. This builds pressure on the department’s already beleaguered head Priti Patel, who has been found to engage in bullying conduct towards staff in the department.

In response to the planned deportations, 82 black public figures have written a letter urging airlines who have previously worked on deportation flights to not operate the flight, as well as pause the operation of deportation flights for the foreseeable future.

Zita Holbourne, the national chair of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC UK) has written in gal-dem of the urgent need to stop the flight, highlighting actions that can be taken. These include signing the organisation’s petition calling for an end to charter flights and using gal-dem’s template email to contact MPs.

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Image credit: Policy Exchange – Creative Commons