Government warned to reconsider deporting some foreign born offenders

7 February 2020, 06:05

The report was leaked to the media
The report was leaked to the media. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A leaked report has warned the government that deportation of foreign-born offenders, particularly children, should be reconsidered.

In the wake of the Windrush scandal, a report was commissioned by ministers, a draft copy of it said forced removals should only be considered in the "most severe cases".

The 'lessons learned' review says changes need to be made after members of the Windrush generation who came to the UK as children were potentially deported as foreign national offenders (FNOs).

With a flight due to leave for Jamacia next week, Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy has warned sometimes vulnerable people being deported for relatively minor crimes.

Making a series of recommendations, the leaked report said: "Government should review its policy and approach to FNOs, if necessary through primary legislation.

"It should consider ending all deportations of FNOs where they arrived in the UK as children (say before age of 13). Alternatively - deportation should only be considered in the most severe cases."

The Home Office would not comment on the leaked report but defended the pending flight.

"The planned charter flight to Jamaica is specifically for removing foreign criminals," a spokeswoman said.

"Those detained for removal include people convicted of manslaughter, rape, violent crime and dealing Class-A drugs."

Mr Lammy told BBC that he had heard of worrying cases of pending deportations and warned of "institutional racism".

"There's a guy who's about to be deported who got two months for GBH," he told the BBC.

"A young man I spoke to was groomed... into selling drugs, he got 15 months for selling those drugs. He was let out in 2015 and is about to be deported in 2020. If that's not cruel and unusual punishment I don't know what is.

"I can't think of another group of British nationals that would be treated with this degree of disdain and disrespect and it smacks frankly of institutional racism."

Bella Sankey, the director of human rights charity Detention Action, said: "It's shameful that the Government has suppressed the Windrush report while scheduling next week's mass deportation flight to Jamaica.

"We now know that one of the key recommendations of the review is that the automatic deportation of those that come to the UK as children should end. Yet Tuesday's flight is full of such people, who, like so many of our clients, have deep roots and families in the UK.

"This cruel policy is double and discriminatory punishment, it rips children from their parents and causes deep and lifelong trauma. After the scandal of Windrush, the Government must now make amends to the communities it has shamefully scapegoated."

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