Deportation: Charter Flights

Home Office written question – answered on 8th February 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will (a) stay the imminent deportation charter flight to Jamaica and (b) cancel all such flights pending the completion of an independent review of (i) the effect on black and minority ethnic communities of his Department’s immigration policy and practice and (ii) how that policy and practice might be reformed to improve fairness and efficiency.

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration

I can confirm that the returns charter flight to Jamaica took place on 6 February 2019. I do not plan to cancel any other returns charter flights.

Returns charter flight operations remain an important means by which we return illegal migrants and Foreign National Offenders without a right to remain in the UK. They would otherwise have to be returned alongside fare paying passengers on scheduled flights.

The UK Borders Act 2007 requires that the Home Secretary issues a deporta-tion order for anyone who is a foreign national offender sentenced to a period of 12 months or more imprisonment. That is a legal requirement. Most liberal democracies around the world have similar laws in place. British offenders in foreign states are often deported back to the UK, including from Jamaica, which has in the past deported British nationals who have committed serious offences back to the UK.

Everyone deported on the returns charter flight to Jamaica was a foreign national offender. All of them have been convicted of serious crimes, such as rape, murder, firearms offences and drug trafficking. This law applies universally to all foreign national offenders.

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