Deporting Black Britons provides an ethnographic account of deportation from the UK to Jamaica. It traces the painful stories of four men who were deported after receiving criminal convictions in the UK. For each of the men, all of whom had moved to the UK as children, deportation was lived as exile – from parents, partners, children and friends – and the book offers portraits of survival and hardship in both the UK and Jamaica. Based on over four years of research, Deporting Black Britons describes the human consequences of deportation, while situating deportation stories within the broader context of policy, ideology, law and violence. It examines the relationship between racism, criminalisation and immigration control in contemporary Britain, suggesting new ways of thinking about race, borders and citizenship in these anti-immigrant times. Ultimately, the book argues that these stories of exile and banishment should orient us in the struggle against violent immigration controls, in the UK and elsewhere.
Witnessing deportation and hierarchies of (non-)citizenship
Luke de Noronha
, from the perspective of the family and friends of
Citizenship and racism in multi-statusBritain
In ideal terms, citizenship is defined as a form of full political
membership and belonging. Citizens are the state’s insiders, and
they are equal under the law. Despite their many differences,
citizens share the same rights and responsibilities in the public
realm.2 This ideal of full, abstract and equal citizenship is connected to ideologies of nationalism, which construct the nation
as a horizontal community of compatriots.3 But, of course, some
concern is with better understanding the relationship
between racism and immigration control, and it is worth taking
some time to discuss how and why this remains the central
question in the book.
Race, racism and immigration control in multi-statusBritain
The dominant consensus in contemporary Britain seems to be
that ‘it is not racist to control immigration’. In this account,
immigration policies are not racist because they do not make
distinctions on the basis of ‘race’. Racism, after all, refers to
bigotry, intolerance and ideologies of biological superiority.88
Bordering intimacy is a study of how borders and dominant forms of intimacy, such as family, are central to the governance of postcolonial states such as Britain. The book explores the connected history between contemporary border regimes and the policing of family with the role of borders under European and British empires. Building upon postcolonial, decolonial and black feminist theory, the investigation centres on how colonial bordering is remade in contemporary Britain through appeals to protect, sustain and make family life. Not only was family central to the making of colonial racism but claims to family continue to remake, shore up but also hide the organisation of racialised violence in liberal states. Drawing on historical investigations, the book investigates the continuity of colonial rule in numerous areas of contemporary government – family visa regimes, the policing of sham marriages, counterterror strategies, deprivation of citizenship, policing tactics, integration policy. In doing this, the book re-theorises how we think of the connection between liberal government, race, family, borders and empire. In using Britain as a case, this opens up further insights into the international/global circulations of liberal empire and its relationship to violence.
of homelessness and the criminalisation of (illegal) immigration.12 One implicated the other for Jason, a reminder that
there is much to be gained from thinking about class, ‘race’ and
migration together in multi-statusBritain.
Deporting Black Britons
The profound exertion required to survive homelessness, illegality and criminalisation over such a protracted period clearly
took a toll on Jason, and he began drinking more heavily in
2012. His arrests became more frequent and he could not see a
way out. Increasingly, he
experiences precipitated Ricardo’s deportation
points to the connection between racist policing and immigration control. In this chapter, then, I build on the accounts of
Ricardo and his friends to reflect on the dynamics of police
racism in multi-statusBritain. The chapter begins, however, in
Mobay, where Ricardo and I got to know one another.
Remembering Smethwick from Mobay
The heart of Montego Bay (Mobay) is its bustling town centre:
it is white hot, dirty and dusty, busy with people moving in
every direction, with never enough pavement to accommodate
the traffic. The
same as wishful thinking, but represents an attentiveness to the
present, to the critical openings and alternative ways of being
already perceptible in the now.5 With this in mind, how can we
draw out some hope from the stories in this book?
Hope and exile
What the deported people in this book ultimately remind us
is that state definitions of belonging are always transgressed
by people who are much more interesting than the racial and
national categories which violently delimit them.6 In multi-
, racism and
inequality in multi-statusBritain.
In 2017, Denico and I took a route taxi from Treasure Beach
to a place called Lovers’ Leap. I had been before, but I wanted
to show Denico the incredible blue of the sea from up there.
Picture 5.3. Denico and me at Lovers’ Leap, St Elizabeth (2017)
Pictures 5.4 and 5.5. Denico at Lovers’ Leap, St Elizabeth (2017)
Lovers’ Leap is a 1,700-foot cliff overhanging the sea, and the
legend associated with it is one that most Jamaicans know well.
Once I returned to the UK