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UK deportations to Jamaica not the ‘new Windrush,’ sending foreign rapists and murderers home shouldn’t be controversial

Jonathan Arnott
Jonathan Arnott

is a former British member of the European Parliament. He is now a writer, publisher, and political consultant who has authored books on Brexit and chess. His fields of expertise include education and finance. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanArnott

is a former British member of the European Parliament. He is now a writer, publisher, and political consultant who has authored books on Brexit and chess. His fields of expertise include education and finance. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanArnott

UK deportations to Jamaica not the ‘new Windrush,’ sending foreign rapists and murderers home shouldn’t be controversial
A contentious flight is taking 17 deportees from the UK to Jamaica after a fierce row between ministers and MPs. But unlike the Windrush scandal, these are criminals – including killers and rapists – sent away to protect society.

A High Court case on Monday ruled that some of 50 planned deportations could not go ahead because of a phone signal issue which had denied them legal representation. Left-wing politicians have fought the case fiercely, invoking the Windrush scandal and arguing that many of the mostly-Jamaican-descended deportees had come to the UK as children and “have no memory of Jamaica.” Despite that, some of the deportations have still gone ahead.

I believe that as a society we need to grow a backbone; the principle of these deportations is absolutely correct. If some deportations are delayed to ensure that due process is properly followed, then fair enough – the rule of law is important. But at the end of the day, those who come to the United Kingdom are guests in our country. If they haven’t applied for and become British citizens, then they have no right to remain in the UK after committing serious crimes.

It is absolutely reasonable for us to have standards. Anyone who comes to live in the United Kingdom should be expected to obey the laws of the land. We’re not talking about a parking ticket here, or a failure to pay the TV licence. We’re talking about serious criminals – killers, rapists and Class A drug dealers – who have all been sentenced to an absolute minimum of a year in prison.

Labour MP David Lammy asked the House of Commons yesterday “when will black lives matter?”. I’ll give him his answer: black lives already matter, as do the lives of everyone irrespective of their ethnicity or skin colour. We already deport criminals of almost every nationality: in 2018, the last year for which full figures are available, we deported 1,920 serious criminals to Albania and nobody batted an eyelid – yet deport 17 serious criminals to Jamaica, and it’s purported to be a race issue. It clearly, absolutely, self-evidently is not.

There’s something deeply wrong when hypocritical media focus solely on those who are going to be deported, providing their personal stories of how deportation will affect them – without context of how their crimes affected their victims, or of how much more dangerous it would be for society to have these known, convicted criminals walking the streets. Those who were deported on Tuesday served, on average, around five years in prison – which costs the taxpayer around £200,000 per person. Today, I’m seeing left-wingers claim that we should instead be working hard to rehabilitate them – but frankly, it’s not the UK’s responsibility to spend even more money on attempts to rehabilitate foreign criminals which are more likely than not to fail. Suppose we were to allow those criminals to remain in the UK. How many more victims would there be over the next decade? Would every single one of those politicians take full political responsibility for every new victim created by their reckless policy? I very much doubt it. The responsibility for being deported rests squarely on the shoulders of those who committed the crimes in the first place.

The personal stories of hardship caused by deportation are cherry-picked. The most marginal cases, and those who’ve stayed in the UK for the longest, are chosen as though they were representative of the whole group of deportees. It’s designed to attempt to elicit public sympathy, knowing full well that the vast majority of those deported would get no sympathy whatsoever from the British public. The marginal case is being used, as ever, in an attempt to justify the general principle. Even so, in the UK today it takes a particularly nasty criminal offence to earn more than a year in prison. Over 95 percent of criminal cases in the UK are decided by magistrates’ courts, which have a maximum sentencing power of just six months. When you reach a Crown Court sentence of over a year in prison, you’re talking about the worst one percent of all crimes. Those are the people currently being deported: surely our national interest must take precedence over the one percent of most serious offenders who have neither legal nor moral right to stay in the UK.

To me, though, the absolute clincher is this. England is the most densely populated country in Europe (and even taking the whole of the UK we’re not far off the top of the list). Being an English-speaking country, there’s huge demand for immigration to the UK – and for that reason we often turn highly-qualified, highly-skilled people away, even with no criminal record. Given the choice, and we don’t have infinite space, would we rather have a known convicted criminal who has stuck two fingers up at our welcome and hospitality (knowing full well that deportation was a likely outcome) in the UK or someone who would contribute to our economy and make the United Kingdom a better place? Only the most ardent supporter of complete open borders could possibly demur. Many people in the UK would like us to have less immigration, and for them the question will be even easier.

This is not a repeat of the ‘Windrush’ scandal, where law-abiding people were being unfairly deported from the UK. Attempts to conflate the two are cynical and unfair. Instead, this is a proper and normal part of the functioning of a democratic society: the decision to deport foreign criminals should never be controversial.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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