The Home Office has gone ahead with its decision to deport over 17 Jamaicans on Tuesday (Feb. 11), despite a court ruling that blocked the flight, and hundreds of British citizens taking to the streets of London in protest.
A spokesman for the Home Office reportedly told UK media, “We make no apology for trying to protect the public from serious, violent and persistent foreign national offenders. The court ruling does not apply to all of the foreign national offenders due to be deported and we are therefore proceeding with the flight.”
The charter flight follows what many saw as breathing room for the Jamaicans after the Court of Appeal judge ordered the Home Office not to honour its scheduled deportation in an intervention ruling on Monday.
There were growing concerns, echoed by Lady Justice Simler, that severe network outages had prevented several Jamaicans from accessing legal advice while in detention.
According to a report from the BBC, 25 Jamaicans were spared the fate of deportation due to the last-minute court ruling.
Member of Parliament for Tottenham David Lammy blasted the deportation flight as cruel.
Lammy further argued that the British government has painted the lopsided image that the Jamaicans were hardened criminals, even though many immigrated to the UK as children and were only convicted on one-time drug offences.
“The #Jamaica50 flight left this morning. It is an outrage that the government deports people who arrived in the UK as children to countries they do not know. We must not give up this fight,” Lammy tweeted.