Posted date: 05-06-2018 11:35:56

Official figures have revealed that nearly 1,000 suspected illegal immigrants were deported to Caribbean countries twelve months before the government stopped removals to the region in the wake of the Windrush scandal.

Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes in response to Parliamentary questions, said Nine hundred and ninety-one people were removed to Caribbean countries on commercial flights in the year to March.

Nokes confirmed in her answers that removals to the Caribbean had been deferred as part of a number of “additional steps in the government’s response to the Windrush issues”.

In a two-year period from 2015 to 2017, the government spent £52m on all deportation flights, including £17.7m on charter flights. The costs for the most recent 12-month period to March are not available. However, Nokes said no charter flights had been operated to the Caribbean in the most recent 12-month period.

Stephen Doughty, a Labour MP on the home affairs committee, who uncovered the figures, said: “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.

“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.

“Indeed, they admit themselves in these answers that they have cancelled further removals – which I have also had confirmed by officials – which suggests they know there may have been serious errors.

“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 centres, also at huge cost to the taxpayer, waiting for these flights. This is a system in crisis and in need of root and branch reform.”