Osime Brown, the 22-year old Jamaican-born UK resident, is at the centre of an ongoing dispute regarding unjust deportation. Despite being classified as a vulnerable adult with severe autism, the Home Office plans to send Mr Brown to Jamaica on his own. The decision was made when he was stripped of his indefinite leave to remain status after being sentenced for his involvement in a mobile phone theft case in 2015.
As Osime did not have British citizenship, after he was sentenced to more than twelve months in prison, he automatically qualified for deportation. He was given a removal notice in August 2018, while serving time in prison, as a result of the theft and additional petty crimes he committed as a teenager.
In 2017 he was sentenced to over 12 months under the controversial Joint Offenses Act. He was set to be transferred to a deportation holding facility in October 2020. However, his lawyers put a stop to this on the grounds of his autism and ongoing heart problems.
The case received recognition after 100,000 people signed a petition demanding his release, while protests began outside the Home Office. This led to discussions in parliament, where 72 MPs signed an early motion to suspend the deportation. Among the signatories was Nadia Whittome MP, who discussed how the UK had failed Mr Brown.
‘It fails many thousands of black men and disabled people, whose lives are seen as expendable.’
Despite Osime Brown’s release from prison, the Home Office has yet to confirm his deportation status, forcing 34 MPs to sign a letter headed by Jamie Stone MP. The letter directly addresses the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, urging her to confirm he will not be deported until a date for a hearing of his case is confirmed. They have also refuted the prison sentence, after a friend of Mr Brown, testified that he was not involved in the crime and was only a witness.
As Osime did not have British citizenship, after he was sentenced to more than twelve months in prison, he automatically qualified for deportation
In the letter, the jail was described as an ‘oppressive environment’ that affected Mr Brown’s mental health. Osime Brown, who struggles with severe learning difficulties, experienced frequent sensory overload episodes in jail, leading to severe anxiety and eventual self-harm.
Mr Brown is now at home, but suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and experiences regular attacks. The letter even detailed a recent incident of Osime’s heart stopping in reaction to medication he received in prison to calm him down, and his mother giving CPR to revive him.
Joan Martin, Osime Brown’s mother, expressed her outrage regarding the decision, saying ‘If he is deported, he will die.’ She also discussed how he has no family in Jamaica, the place he left when he was four-years-old – and would, therefore, be left to fend for himself, which he is incapable of doing.
Mr Brown is now at home, but suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and experiences regular attacks
She also discussed her son’s current state of mind, saying ‘Osime is traumatised. Often he can’t sleep and when he does he will be screaming No! No!’ She also mentions his fear of being deported, despite his lack of understanding of the situation. It is clear Osime, who has a learning age of between six and seven years old, has no concept of the distance between his hometown of Dudley and Jamaica – believing it to be a bus ride away.
Educational psychologist John T. Hall who reviewed Mr Brown, after being commissioned by his mother discussed how deportation ‘would not only be life-changing in a very negative direction but also life-threatening.’
‘If he is deported, he will die.’
The CEO of the Autistic Inclusive Meets group, Emma Dalmayne, who is autistic herself, said the situation is ‘not only catastrophic for his physical health but for his mental health as well.’ She also went on to criticize the Joint Enterprise Law that Osime was sentenced under, and the education system, that left his autism undiagnosed until he was 16 years of age.
Nottingham East Labour MP, Nadia Whittome discussed the case in a public meeting regarding deportations. She said, “We know the EHRC found the Home Office to have violated equalities laws by disregarding those warnings about the impact of the hostile environment policy of black people.” She then went onto explain how these violations have resulted in a situation where ‘an autistic young black man is being failed by a whole myriad of institutions in this country, from education to social care and then finally the criminal justice system and the Home Office.’
‘An autistic young black man is being failed by a whole myriad of institutions in this country’
Osime Brown’s story is one of many unlawful cases, where the vulnerable are exploited, deported or even die in the place they call home. This is a result of outdated policies and the issue of ever-growing hostile environments. These problems not only affect individuals rights to live in the UK, but also the physical and mental health of at-risk ethnic minorities across the country.
[Header Image: Twitter]