Mother Faces Deportation After 34 Years Of Living In Britain
Beverley Boothe and her family have endured a “lifetime” of immigration misery
A MOTHER-of-five has been ordered to leave or “be removed” after living in Britain for 34 years.
Beverley Boothe, 52, first came to Britain to join her parents in 1979. Since then she has studied here, worked and started a family.
But last Friday (Nov 29), she received a letter from Capita Business Services, instructing her to “make immediate arrangements to leave the United Kingdom.”
The distressed Jamaican national, who suffers from high-blood pressure and a heart condition, has been set a firm deadline of December 5, to either provide proof that she has the right to be in the country, or present a copy of her travel ticket to the authorities.
An emotional Boothe told The Voice: “I can’t believe this is happening. Where am I supposed to go? Do they expect me to leave my children here?
“I was 17 when my parents sent for me and I haven’t been back since. My grandparents, who I used to live with have passed away and all of my close family have moved on.”
The criminology graduate has been in an ongoing battle with the Home Office to get her Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) stamp replaced, after she lost her passport with the original.
She claimed that she was granted ILR in 1980 after her mother, who had migrated to the UK in 1962, made an application on her behalf. However, the Home Office said they have no record of her status.
“I have given them my mom’s date of birth; my dad’s date of birth, where they were born, (and) information about my two sisters that were born here.
“I also gave them my fingerprints and proof of my degree – I don’t know what else to do, they should be keeping records,” Boothe explained.
According to the Home Office’s website, the records of applicants are only kept for 15 years from the date of the “last action” with exceptions extending to 25 years.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The onus is on the individual to ensure they provide the correct evidence to support their application.
“Miss Boothe’s application was refused because she failed to provide evidence that she has been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK as part of her application.
“All applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with immigration rules.
However, immigration expert Hilary Brown of Virgo Consultancy Services has accused the Home Office of “huge inefficiencies”.
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She said: “Are they saying then that if they lose your original documents, you have no way proving your status if it was granted more than 15 to 25 years ago?”
Boothe said the “go home or be removed letter” was the culmination of an ongoing saga with the Home Office. The situation has had a devastating impact on her children – who despite all being born in the UK to British fathers, have been unable to obtain UK passports. Her two youngest daughters, Reneisha, 18 and Rakiela Drummond, 17, are without status and have never been able to travel outside of the UK.
Reneisha dreams of going to university but is unable to apply without a passport.
She described feeling trapped in a lifetime of uncertainty: “I cannot stress how this makes me feel. How could somebody who was born in this country have to go through this?
“I have loads of friends who weren’t born here and they have British passports. All my life I have been a prisoner and it’s not fair because I haven’t done anything wrong,” the distressed teen said.
“My mother and my grandmother have worked and contributed to this country and yet this is happening.”
She added: “I am a good French student and I want to go to Europe, actually I want to travel the world.”
Boothe was one of the 170,000 people who Capita – contracted by the Home Office – sent letters to as part of a strategy to tackle illegal migration.
Hampstead and Kilburn MP Glenda Jackson, who is supporting Boothe, has compared this to the Royal Mail ‘Go home or face arrest’ van campaign.
Boothe said she will to try and obtain further evidence that her parents lived in the UK. However she has been left with what she has described as a “crippling uncertainty”.
She is also worried that her lack of status has made it difficult to obtain employment and with the removal of legal aid for immigration cases earlier this year, she is unable to afford a lawyer.
She said: “What I have been through and what my children have been through is inhumane. If nothing else, they need to change the laws relating to children who are born in the UK.”