British Prime Minister Theresa May | Photo: ANSA
British Prime Minister Theresa May | Photo: ANSA

The British Home Office's decision to repatriate some 50 Jamaican nationals who were residing in the country has been condemned by the opposition. The government says it has ordered the charter deportation flight to remove foreign national offenders.

The British Home Office's decision to repatriate 50 people of Jamaican origin who had been residing in the United Kingdom has sparked a controversy. The decision to repatriate the foreign nationals with a charter flight has been widely condemned by the Labour opposition and several NGOs, especially after the so-called Windrush Generation scandal for which the Tory government had to apologize. 

The so-called Windrush Generation are people of Caribbean origin who came to the UK between 1948 and 1970, some on a boat called The HMT Empire Windrush. After the British Nationality Act was passed in 1948, they were legally regarded as British citizens, because they had been born in what was then British colonies. They had been settled in the UK, working and paying taxes for generations. In fact nearly half a million people came to Britain during that time period, as the country faced huge labor shortages after the Second World War. 

Threatened with deportation

Suddenly, some of these people were deported, or threatened with deportation, refused entry to the UK when they returned from trips abroad, and in some cases lost their jobs, houses and access to the medical care and social benefits to which they were entitled.

The political scandal broke in 2018 and cost the then Interior Minister Amber Rudd her job. The Windrush scandal revealed that dozens of people had been wrongly deported from Britain by the Home Office. 

There is ongoing criticism in Britain from opposition politicians and human rights groups about the effects of the strategy which has been likened to creating a "hostile environment" to halt immigration which the British government consider illegal. According to David Lammy, a Labour lawmaker of Jamaican origin, the story is confirmation that ''blacks'' in the United Kingdom are ''less equal than others." 

Conservative Home Secretary Sajid Javid, the son of Pakistani immigrants, however defended the latest measures saying that all those repatriated had committed serious criminal offences. 

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