Man who has been in UK since age 11 and has British baby set to be deported on Jamaica charter flight

‘I was brought up here. I don’t know anything else. I made one mistake in life, and it feels like I tried to kill the Queen’

Man who has been in UK since age 11 and has British baby set to be deported on Jamaica charter flight

A man who has been in the UK since the age of 11 and has a British baby is set to be deported on a charter flight to Jamaica within days.

Reshawn Davis, 30, was detained last Friday and told he would be removed to Jamaica on 11 February – on the second charter flight to travel to the country since the Windrush scandal two years ago.

He is being removed from the country on the basis that he was convicted for robbery 10 years ago under the now-unlawful “joint enterprise” rule – for which he spent two months in prison.

The Jamaican national, who lives with his British wife and six-month-old daughter in northwest London and has not committed any crime since his conviction, said the thought of being ripped from his family and returning to a country he has not been to for 20 years terrified him.

Up to 50 other Jamaican nationals have been detained in recent weeks and are set to be deported on the same charter flight, which has been the subject of mounting controversy.

Why is the Home Office getting so many immigration decisions wrong?

A draft copy of the "Windrush Lessons Learned" report, leaked to the media on Thursday, said ministers should consider ending the practice of deporting people who arrived in the UK as children – prompting calls for ministers to halt the removal of individuals like Mr Davis until it is published.

Detainees are meanwhile struggling to access legal services to pursue challenges against their removal directions due to a mobile phone outage at Heathrow removal centres, which the Home Office has only just begun to resolve despite being aware of the issue since 13 January.

Speaking from Colnbrook removal centre following the decision, Mr Davis, who has no family or friends in Jamaica, told The Independent: “I’m so stressed out. I can’t even explain how I feel. Yes I was born in Jamaica, but I was brought up here. I don’t know anything else. I made one mistake in life, and it feels like I tried to kill the Queen.

“I look at my daughter’s pictures now every night before I go to bed. Since she was born I never had never spent a night without her until I was locked in here. I still reach for her when I wake up. I’m not one of those to leave my wife to do it by herself. I want to be there for them both.

“I’m terrified to go to Jamaica. My cousin was deported and he has now died. People will be hostile to me because I’ve been deported. I’m going to be targeted.”

His British wife of five years, Tonique Kerr, said her husband’s deportation would prevent her from going back to work and force her to have to claim welfare benefits – as well as having a devastating impact on her and their daughter.

Ms Kerr says she will be forced to claim benefits if her husband is deported (Tonique Kerr)

The 27-year-old, who is currently on maternity leave but works as a complaints handler at an energy company, said: “I had been hoping to go back to work so he could look after the baby. I won’t be able to. That’s not something I wanted because I don’t want to sit down and rely on benefits. I’ve always worked. I’ve never been on benefits in my life.

“I never imagined being a single mum. I don’t want to fall into the statistics of young single parents, especially for something that isn’t my fault and could have been prevented. It’s hard, emotionally and I would need help financially because it is hard having a young baby.

“Reshawn is a great dad. He’s been here all the time with her. She loved him. He does a lot – feeds her, changes her, plays with her. A child needs their dad. I don’t know what’s going to happen now.”

Mr Davis’s solicitor made representations for him to remain in the UK this week on the basis of family ties but it was ruled on Friday that he did not have a “genuine and subsisting” relationship with his wife or child and that it would “not be unduly harsh” for them to be without him.

The Home Office and the courts ruled that Mr Davis did not have a ‘genuine and subsisting’ relationship with his family (Tonique Kerr)

Rachel Meates, a solicitor from Irving Legal who is representing Mr Davis, said she was shocked that despite having provided a birth certificate, a marriage certificate and photographs, his relationship with his family was not being believed.

“The Home Office has been quite manipulative in shutting down the arguments. There was enough evidence put in to suggest it was a genuine relationship – and I don’t know what more evidence we can submit from a five-month-old,” she said, adding: “It highlights the culture of disbelief that comes with the hostile environment.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The planned charter flight to Jamaica is specifically for removing foreign criminals. Those detained for removal include people convicted of manslaughter, rape, violent crime and dealing class A drugs.”

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