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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Standard member finnegan
    27 Feb '17 20:59

    An “exceptionally able” engineering student is set to be deported with just three months left of her degree.

    Shiromini Satkunarajah, a student at Bangor University, was arrested on Tuesday and taken to Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre.

    The Home Office have since informed Ms Satkunarajah she will be sent back to her birthplace, Sri Lanka, on 28th February.

    Ms Satkunarajah has lived in the UK since she was 12 years old, when her parents fled the Sri Lankan Civil War. She was originally a dependant on her father’s student visa, but was given to leave to complete her secondary education in the UK when he died in 2011.

    She was informed by the Home Office this week that her application for a full student visa had been denied.

    Iestyn Pierce, Bangor’s head of electrical engineering, described Ms Satkunarajah as “exceptionally able and diligent.”

    “I have no doubt that Shiromini would achieve first-class honours,” he said.
  2. Standard member finnegan
    27 Feb '17 21:00

    A Dutch woman educated in the UK with two British children has been told by the Home Office to prepare to leave the country despite living in the UK for 24 years.

    Monique Hawkins was told to “make arrangements to leave” after she applied for permanent residency following the Brexit vote, underlining the uncertainty being felt by millions of EU citizens.
  3. Standard member finnegan
    27 Feb '17 21:05

    “For 30 years, my sister-in-law Irene has lived in Britain after arriving here from Singapore. She has a British husband, two wonderful British children and a granddaughter she dotes upon. She has worked hard for those 30 years raising her family and being an important and beloved member of the local community.

    “Without her to look after him, we’re all worried for him, and to rip apart a family after 30 years of happiness seems so unfair. Irene has never claimed benefits in the UK. John has worked his entire adult life. We need to fight to keep them together so he has someone to care for him, and so she can stay with her family, where her home is.
    “Irene has nowhere to go in Singapore, both her parents have passed away – her whole life is here in Britain.”

    Clennell told Buzzfeed that although she was allowed to phone her husband with the news, she was so distressed, she was barely able to speak. “I didn’t even get to say goodbye properly,” she said. “I was just in tears, I wasn’t able to say much.

    “They just came to get me this morning and said they’ve already given me a chance. Now I’m on the plane. Four people are taking me to Singapore. I don’t know what I’ll do when I land. I called my sister [in Singapore] and she said she can’t put me up, so I just don’t know.”

    Her husband told the website that he had no idea the deportation was going to happen despite having visited her on Friday.

    He said: “I think it was done deliberately so we couldn’t contact a solicitor or go through the courts. I think it’s trickery to come on a Sunday when you can’t contact your lawyer ... I need people to see what these people have done.”

    A Home Office spokesperson said: “All applications for leave to remain in the UK are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules. We expect those with no legal right to remain in the country to leave.”
  4. Standard member finnegan
    27 Feb '17 21:13

    The UK government’s decision to forcibly remove 50 people to Jamaica on Wednesday morning, deporting them on a private charter plane, was unjust and unfair.

    Among those targeted were parents, grandparents and partners of people still resident in the UK, some who are primary carers and one with a mental health condition. All but one had children. Many had been living in the UK for over 10 years, with some arriving in the country as small children, even babies.
    Lawyers representing some of those who were targeted were successful on Tuesday evening in challenging the deportation of their clients, with at least seven people taken off the flight.

    But many more were unsuccessful. It was inappropriate for the UK to gather up so many and such a mix of people – each facing different circumstances and with a different status – in one big sweep, and to charter an aircraft to deport them all at once. Because of the way in which they were removed, the assumption made by some people is that they were all criminals and all in the UK illegally. This has stigmatised everyone on the flight.

    One had arrived to sign in with his baby. While detaining him, the Home Office called social services to take the baby

    Many will have built lives in the UK, have not known Jamaica as an adult and have no family there. Their families in the UK have been ripped apart. On their arrival in Jamaica they will be vulnerable and may face homelessness, poverty and destitution.

    On Wednesday morning I spoke to the partner of one of the people on the flight. He, like all asylum seekers, was required by the Home Office to sign in frequently at reporting centres or police stations. She told me that two weeks ago, when signing in, he was seized, handcuffed and sustained injuries, and taken to an immigration removal centre. He has a heart condition and diabetes and was subsequently taken to a hospital where his injuries were photographed. He had been signing in every week and electronically tagged for two years.

    A few months ago he went through an appeal, and then a fresh appeal was refused, as well as a judicial review. His partner said he had access to a phone and was able to call her from the plane; he told her he had been driven right up to the plane, surrounded by police and taken to an undisclosed location. Each of the people on the flight was taken on board one by one.

    In the background, as he spoke, she could hear crying, screaming and shouting from others on the flight. The pleas and cries will haunt her for ever, she added; the heart has been ripped out of her family. She and her partner have seven children and four grandchildren between them, and her partner was their only grandfather. This is one family’s story, but there will be many others like this.

    Among those rounded up to be removed are a former soldier who served in the British army, a father of three who arrived in the UK aged four, and one who had arrived to sign in with his baby in a pushchair. While detaining him, the Home Office called social services to take his baby.

    This “snatching” of people with no warning who are attending their routine signing-in appointments could make individuals fearful of attending putting them in a Catch-22 position. These are human beings who deserve to be treated with dignity and not have fear instilled in them.

    Astonishingly, the Home Office suggests that people who have been deported can remain in touch with family and keep up their parenting responsibilities via Skype and email.