According to figures disclosed by United Kingdom (UK) immigration state minister, Caroline Nokes, about 1,000 people, suspected to be undocumented immigrants, were deported to the Caribbean, one year before the Windrush scandal broke.
“These are yet more shocking revelations from the Home Office over the Windrush and wider scandals which expose the costs and realities of the hostile environment policy,” Labour member of parliament and member of the home affairs committee, Stephen Doughty, said.
“With nearly 1,000 people removed on flights to the Caribbean in just the last year alone, people will undoubtedly have a strong suspicion that more people have been wrongfully removed than the 63 the Home Office has admitted.”
The official numbers, shared by Nokes to parliament, documented that 991 individuals had indeed been expelled from the UK prior to the last 12-month period which has been reportedly dormant. Between 2015 and 2017, the UK government spent US$70 million on deportation flights, including US$24 million on charter flights.
“The costs involved are also staggering – millions are being spent on flights, both commercial and charter deportations, and we also know hundreds of individuals languish for indefinite periods in immigration detention centers, also at a huge cost to the taxpayer, waiting for these flights. This is a system in crisis and in need of root and branch reform,” Doughty added.
Home secretary Sajid Javid admitted that the 63 people may have been unjustly deported to Caribbean countries and that the Home Office had launched an investigation into the incident.
“Indeed, they admit themselves in these answers that they have canceled further removals – which I have also had confirmed by officials – which suggests they know there may have been serious errors,” Doughty added.
Nokes noted that deportations to the Caribbean have been suspended in response to Windrush issues.