Deportations, particularly to Jamaica, have become an increasingly contentious issue in recent months, with some of those removed having lived in the UK since they were children, or for many years, with close family links. Both the home secretary, Priti Patel, and Boris Johnson have accused “activist lawyers” of launching spurious, last-minute cases to thwart detention flights, prompting warnings from the legal profession that such rhetoric could endanger lawyers.
The Guardian asked the Home Office under freedom of information laws to provide a breakdown by nationality of foreign nationals deported in the past five years under the 2007 UK Borders Act, which requires deportation for those jailed for 12 months or longer. Guardian
This was refused. The Home Office issued the following statement: “We are committed to openness and transparency, which is why we publish a significant amount of data specifically on returns every quarter on gov.uk.” What they mean is, ‘we are committed to openness and transparency except where we might expose our institutional racism’.
The hostile immigration environment Theresa May set out to create when she was at the Home Office was regarded by some ministers as “almost reminiscent of Nazi Germany” in the way it is working, the former head of the civil service, Lord Kerslake, has said. Sarah Teather, who was minister for children and families, said, “The Home Office has a culture of enforcement and disbelief which runs deep into the walls, but it is politically led. It’s a culture from the top.” Guardian
The name for the infamous ‘Go Home’ vans (see BLL post 25.11.20) campaign was Operation Vagen, reminiscent of the Nazis slogan ‘Germany Awake. In 2016, in the London Review of Books, the political economist William Davies wrote that he had taken part in a project prompted by Operation Vaken to try to understand how the billboard had come about. He spoke to Home Office civil servants off the record, and revealed that “one former official compared the ethos of the Home Office to that of Millwall football fans: ‘No one likes us, we don’t care.’” Guardian
A hard core of Milwall fans have been notoriously racist for decades. Only recently they booed their team for taking the knee.
When is Starmer going to take seriously and confront the institutionalised racism in one of the the largest departments of government, let alone defend civil rights lawyers against Patel ?