PRESS RELEASE: Deportation of those who grew up in the UK should be stopped, long awaited and leaked Windrush Report finds

Detention Action Press Release
Thursday 6 February 2020
London – for immediate release

Deportation of those who grew up in the UK should be stopped, long awaited and leaked Windrush Report finds

The Home Office should end the deportation of those who came to the UK as children or only considered deportation in the most extreme cases.

The revelation comes just days before the Home Office is set to proceed with the deportation of 50 individuals to Jamaica, including many known to have arrived in the UK as children. If it goes ahead, the charter flight scheduled for 11th February will be only the second since the Windrush scandal broke in 2017.

Among those set to be deported on the controversial 11th February charter flight to Jamaica are Detention Action clients who have lived in the UK since the ages of 5 and 8, attending primary and secondary school in the UK. Both have all their family in the UK, most of whom are British citizens, and almost no connection to Jamaica.

Bella Sankey, Director of Detention Action, said: “It’s shameful that the Government has suppressed the Windrush report while scheduling next week’s mass deportation flight to Jamaica.

“We now know that one of the key recommendations of the review is that the automatic deportation of those that come to the UK as children should end. Yet Tuesday’s flight is full of such people, who, like so many of our clients, have deep roots and families in the UK.

“This cruel policy is double and discriminatory punishment, it rips children from their parents and causes deep and lifelong trauma. After the scandal of WIndrush Government must now make amends to the communities it has shamefully scapegoated.”

The UK Borders Act 2007 makes the deportation of anyone sentenced to 12 months or more in prison automatic, stating that deportation is “conducive to the public good and in the public interest.”

Serious concerns were raised regarding the detention and deportation of those who are “more British than foreign” by Sir Stephen Shaw in his 2016 ‘Review into the Welfare in Detention of Vulnerable Persons’ and his 2018 follow-up progress report.

Shaw’s 2016 report stated: “Many former prisoners have long standing connections with the UK, or may in some cases have been born here, so for staff as well as detainees the legitimacy of their detention and removal is not self evident.”[1]

Shaw’s 2918 report further stated: “I found during my visits across the immigration estate that a significant proportion of those deemed FNOs had grown up in the UK, some having been born here but the majority having arrived in very early childhood. These detainees often had strong UK accents, had been to UK schools, and all of their close family and friends were based in the UK.

“Many had no command of the language of the country to which they were to be ‘returned’, or any remaining family ties there.

“The removal of these individuals raises real ethical issues. Not only does their removal break up families in this country, and put them at risk in countries of which they have little or no awareness. It is also questionable how far it is fair to developing countries, without the criminal justice infrastructure of the UK, for one of the richest nations on earth to export those whose only chance of survival may be by way of further crime.”[2]


For media enquiries please contact Matthew Leidecker on 07950387130 or by email to

Spokespeople are available for broadcast interview.
[1], P. 93-94

P. 98-90

Notes to editors:
1. Detention Action is a national charity established in 1993 that seeks to defend the rights and improve the welfare of people in immigration detention by combining support for individuals with campaigning for policy change. Detention Action works in Harmondsworth and Colnbrook IRCs near Heathrow Airport in London, Morton Hall IRC in Lincolnshire, and with people held under immigration powers in London prisons. We work with around 1000 individuals held in detention each year.