Originally posted on unitycentreglasgow.org

Update: Thanks to everyone’s contributions to the crowdfunder to help pay for legal representation, Sophia got off the flight! The fight is not over and continues inside and outside of detention. Our thoughts and solidarity is with everyone being taken away from their home and communities to Jamaica, and their families still in the UK.

A mass deportation charter flight is set to remove up to 50 people en masse from the UK to Jamaica on the 8th March 2017.

“These charter flights are modern slavery”

Detainees are speaking out against the upcoming charter flight, part of the regular Home Office practice of forcibly removing people en masse on privately chartered ghost flights that leave from an undisclosed location in the middle of the night.
• Some of the people removed have lived in the UK for nearly their whole life.
• Many will leave children, partners and wider families behind.
• Some have asylum claims and fear for their lives on removal.
• Many have legal cases pending. Deportation will stop them from accessing their rights.
• Many cannot afford to pay the huge legal fees to regularise their stay.
The Unity Centre received a distressing call from one person who said that their 88 year-old mother in Jamaica had been visited by representatives of the British High Commission, who demanded that she was interviewed in order to ascertain the information needed to secure travel documents for her son to be deported – part of the Home Office’s wider underhand strategies to increase deportations.
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Sophia has been in Yarl’s Wood since October and has been given a ticket by the Home Office for the charter to Jamaica. She has been in the UK for over 25 years with indefinite leave to remain and 3 kids – aged 23, 16 and 13.

“As a mother, no words can describe how I feel being stuck in this prison as my kids need me more than ever”

Sophia has been told by the Home Office that she can either bring her kids – who have lived their whole lives in the UK and have British citizenship – to Jamaica, or that she can communicate with them from Jamaica via Skype.
You can read more about Sophia’s situation and donate to her crowdfunder to help cover the legal fees to challenge her deportation.

“I feel like I’ve been kidnapped. The stress and pressure of every day alone with no one to talk to is going to kill me”

This is the second charter flight to Jamaica since 2014. In September 2016, 42 people were deported from the UK to Jamaica into destitution and isolation, many who had grown up in the UK and who had children and partners they were forced to leave.
The charter flight raises questions of collective expulsion, as the Home Office unlawfully targets specific nationalities in order to fill up seats on the charter flight. The last charter to Jamaica saw many people taken from their homes in the week leading up to the flight, regardless of the differing stages they were at within their individual cases.
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Please share this information and help to raise awareness about the scheduled deportation of people en masse to Jamaica on the 8th March. Whilst many are in detention, it is also likely that some people may not yet know they have been issued a ticket for the charter flight by the Home Office, and could face being taken from their home or workplace by immigration officials.
We must come together to collectively resist the racist and violent deportations of the Home Office – fight an immigration raid, donate to help people with legal fees before and after deportation, raise awareness, boycott airlines and companies involved.

To get in touch about the upcoming charter flight, contact The Unity Centre via unitycentremedia@gmail.com