The Home Office is preparing to deport dozens of west African migrants on a specially chartered aircraft leaving Stansted tonight, bound for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Gabon. Immigration officials have reportedly detained hundreds of people this month ahead of the flight.
Many of the men booked on the flight are being separated from pregnant partners and young children, according to volunteers at the Unity Centre, Glasgow, who have spoken to deportees. They say that the the men, being held in London immigration lock-ups, expressed “terror and desperation at the prospect of being separated from established lives in the UK”.
Anthony* has a wife and two-year-old child who both have the right to remain in the UK. “We lost a baby in 2008, we visit the burial site regularly. They are trying to take me away from this,” Anthony told the Unity Centre. “Every time I call my wife my son is crying. It is very disheartening that a country that preaches human rights all over the world can do this. How can you split me from my family?”
The Home Office claims Anthony poses a risk to society, after he was arrested for working without permission in 2010. Anthony said he was just trying to support his family.
Another man booked on the flight, George, said: “I have been here for 11 years and I just don’t know what to do. I have nowhere else to go and I am not leaving my fiancée.” His partner is three months pregnant. She is an EU citizen, and the couple have an ongoing application to stay here under European laws.
Read more here.
Thanks KJ for the heads-up.