Labour ‘lost their marbles’ on deportation flights says Farage
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Just seven criminals were onboard the flight to Jamaica yesterday. There were originally meant to be 50 being deported, but an influx of legal challenges were made just hours before departure, forcing 43 to be pulled from the plane.
Labour MPs and campaigners demanded the Home Office cease with the deportations int he lead up to this week.
Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott led the charge, saying: “Mass deportation flights are a signature Boris Johnson immigration and nationality tactic.
“They are cruel, arbitrary, a double punishment and expensive.”
However, today, a furious Ms Patel hit back at those looking to block the removals.
She said: “I make absolutely no apology for taking action to remove foreign criminals – keeping the public safe from the likes of murderers, rapists and child sexual abusers.”
The Home Secretary said it would send the wrong signal to the public to let foreign nationals who have served a prison sentence for abhorrent crimes be allowed to continue to live their lives in the UK.
Government figures estimate there are over 10,000 foreign national offenders, many of whom have committed serious
offences, free in the UK.
Ms Patel also criticised those claiming deportation was racist as she said she was doing what the public expects of the Government.
Campaigners have warned deportations risk being the next Windrush Scandal.
Under the UK Borders Act 2007, introduced by the last Labour Government, deportation is possible for foreign criminals who have served at least 12 months in prison.
Officials say multiple factors are taken into account when deciding whether to deport someone.
The Home Office considers the length of time a person has lived in the UK, as well as the strength of their social, cultural and family ties when making its decision.
The 43 offenders who were pulled from yesterday’s plane had a combined prison sentence of 245 years.
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Pledging reform to the “broken” immigration system to stop lawyers blocking deportations with last minute appeals, Ms Patel said: “The Borders Bill will make it easier for the UK to remove them.”
Reforms to stop late legal challenges were announced as part of the home Office’s New Plan for Immigration published in the spring.
Under the plans, foreign criminals will be served with a new Priority Removal Notice giving them warning of their departure.
They will then be able to lodge any protection claims they wish all at once, which can be considered together.
Once the claims have been heard, the matter is considered closed, with no later appeals able to be made.
Ms Patel’s reforms come amid a continued drop in the number of successful foreign national offenders being returned to their home countries.
According to the Home Office, in 2016 there were 6,437 successful removals.
Foreign criminal deportations dropped to 5,118 in 2019.
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