It is hard to avoid the conclusion reached in your leading article (18 January) that the action 'looks like racial discrimination'. That unavoidable verdict can be only a matter of shame to every decent person in this country.
When I sought to highlight the plight of the Jamaican visitors during a trip to their detention centre on Christmas Eve, I repeated the call which I had made a day earlier in a letter to the Prime Minister for a public inquiry into the operation of our immigration rules. My intervention was not on behalf of any individual, but in support of a principle. While recognising the right of any state to control immigration, it is incumbent on it to ensure that the relevant rules are fair, just and non-discriminatory in their application. No one can be satisfied that the treatment of this particular flight from Jamaica passed that test.
Either the behaviour of immigration officers on that occasion was in accordance with the law, in which case the law must be changed; or it reflected their own practice, in which case such practice must be changed. Either way, change is an urgent necessity.
General Secretary, Transport
and General Workers Union
London, SW1Reuse content