A 61 year-old woman who was threatened with, deportation and detained in Yarls Wood detention centre despite having lived and worked in the UK for 50 years has won official leave to remain in the country.
Paulette Wilson came to the UK from Jamaica with her family when she was 10 years old. She has not visited Jamaica since then, and has no relatives there, but despite this was taken to Heathrow for deportation to Jamaica in October. Paulette has also been denied to benefits, health care or permission to work for two and a half years.
Paulette is one of a number of long-settled migrants who found out they did not have the UK citizenship they thought they had when they were suddenly and brutally persued by the Home Office as part of Theresa May’s “hostile environment” for migrants launched in 2012. Some had previously held passports, entering and exiting the country with no issue. Many are suddenly detained when trying to renew passports or access other state services.
The Legal Action Group estimates that this may affect as many as 10,000 people who arrived in the UK as children and have lived and worked here since effected.
The 1971 Immigration Act supposedly gave people who had already settled in Britain indefinite leave to remain, however many struggle to provide proof that they arrived in the UK in the 60s.