Mental Health, Disability and Deportation

The Government has shown its lack of interest in assisting individuals with mental health issues, as seen by the cuts to funding for mental health services.

The most vulnerable people who are experiencing mental health difficulties have intersecting identities, from the shocking mental health problems in the LGBTQ+ community due to society-wide discrimination to refugees and asylum seekers locked up in detention.

ImmiNews recently reported on the horrific case of Prince Fosu who died after what was reported to be a total failure of care. Osime Brown, at the tender age of 21, is another vulnerable immigrant stuck in a British institution without adequate care.

Osime Brown is appealing his deportation from the UK. [Image: Voice-Online.]

Brown, diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and has the mental capacity of a child aged 5 or 6 years old, is currently serving a five-year sentence in Stocken Prison, Leicestershire. He was convicted after a spate of offences including robbery that dates as far back as when he was just 16 years old. His pattern of offending is believed by his siblings to be due to his vulnerability as he has become manipulated by the “wrong crowd”.

Why is it necessary to deport people so speedily and so fiercely?

He was due to be deported just before last Christmas before an appeal was made. A final appeal with the Upper Tribunal is scheduled to be heard in March.

Shadow Immigration Minister Bell Ribeiro-Addy has criticised governmental policy and spoke out about Brown’s case in parliament.

She stated: “The government’s callous treatment of Osime Brown, a young man with severe learning disabilities, proves once again that the hostile environment shows no mercy, even to extremely vulnerable young people.”

She calls on the government to “serious[ly] reflect” on the impact its detention and deportation policies has on individuals and their health, especially for those who have ongoing health challenges or learning difficulties.

Brown joined his mother and siblings in the UK at the age of three. He has been in social care since 2014 and due to various criminal activities has been serving a prison sentence since 2018.

Are migration statistics so important that we are willing to sacrifice due diligence?

His family have spoken out about how easy prey Osime was due to his vulnerabilities. Their joint statement references how “distraught” they would be if he were deported especially to a country he does not know and left at the age of just three.

A rally in Brixton opposing the Home Office’s removal decisions. [Image: Voice-Online.]

Ribeiro-Addy is an outspoken critic of the government’s deportation policy, having recently joined campaigners and activists at Windrush Square last weekend.

She said: “Charter flight deportations lack due process, disregard deportee safety and ignore the right to family life.”

As the UK has seen with the Windrush catastrophe and the recent Jamaica deportations, it is not as simple as the Government makes out. There are individuals that are being deported have severe health complications and often do not have a single memory of the country that they are being sent to. Why is it necessary to deport people so speedily and so fiercely? Are migration statistics so important that we are willing to sacrifice due diligence?

It is not acceptable to deport people in the way that the Government is doing, even more so in the case of someone like Osmie Brown. Even the most hard-hearted of politicians would surely agree condemning an autistic young man to this process is inhumane.

[Header image: Jim West/Zuma/Mother Jones.]

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