Plane full of deportees expected from London today - Demontrators protest outside Jamaican High Commission in UK
A special charter flight with more than 60 passengers was expected to depart the United Kingdom (UK) this morning, bound for Jamaica.
On board will be Jamaicans who have been deported from the UK for a range of reasons, including overstayers and even people who have lived in the UK for many years but did not regularise their immigration status.
The UK regularly arranges these special charter flights with deportees from the UK, but it is the first time the flight will be a full one
According to The Unity Centre, a pressure group based in Glasgow which monitors deportations, the Home Office regularly books secret charter flights to deport people to countries, including Nigeria and Pakistan, but this is the first charter flight to Jamaica since 2014.
Many of those being deported have spent their formative years in the UK and have British families.
The plans for the mass deportation today have whipped up support from other groups, and a protest demonstration was organised outside the Jamaican High Commission yesterday.
Among the demonstrators was Tanesha Morgan, who told The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre that she is protesting the deportation of her brother who served in the British army and has been in the UK for 12 years
Luke De-Noronha, a researcher at The Unity Centre, said in most cases, people are unable to properly challenge their deportation because they cannot afford to pay for legal advice.
People are notified that they will be on these planes with just days to , with no time available to contest the decision.
According to a report published by the liberty group Open Democracy UK, many people booked for deportation today are victims of a joint initiative between the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police, and involve the arbitrary deportation of foreign nationals, including people without criminal convictions.
The police and Home Office officials share speculative evidence to build a case for deportation. This includes people who may have been accused of a crime and found not guilty.
The report goes on to say that those booked on today's flight cannot appeal their deportation while they are in the UK. If someone wants to appeal on human-rights grounds, they have to do so from the country they are deported to. An exception is made for people facing "serious irreversible harm" in their country of origin.
But most people, fearing serious irreversible harm, claim asylum. And doing so in the run-up to deportation is usually considered an attempt to "frustrate" removal, which the Home Office can use as a reason to remove appeal rights, meaning the asylum claim must be dealt with outside the country.
A spokesperson at the Jamaica High Commission in London was unwilling to comment on the protest.