Fam­ily wait on UK fight rul­ing

‘We hope to hear soon and are stay­ing pos­i­tive’

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - NEWS - Jackie Grant

A Dum­fries fam­ily threat­ened with de­por­ta­tion by the Home Of­fice hope they could be about to get the best gift ever.

And Nige­rian-born Dami Ade­bola-Sa­muel, 20, said if an ap­peal by lawyers to al­low them to stay in Scot­land is suc­cess­ful, her up­com­ing 21st birth­day will be one to re­mem­ber.

Dami, mum Chris­tiana and brother John, 11, have been faced with be­ing kicked out of the coun­try af­ter their visa ap­pli­ca­tion was re­jected two years ago.

They have been des­ti­tute since and even fea­tured in a BBC Scot­land pro­gramme called Bread­line Kids which high­lighted the hard­ship of poverty.

Dami and her fam­ily are legally banned from work­ing and in­el­i­gi­ble for ben­e­fits, but have been sup­ported by char­i­ties, mainly the Dum­fries and Gal­loway First Base or­gan­i­sa­tion.

They were over­whelmed by the sup­port from the re­gion fol­low­ing the TV show with peo­ple do­nat­ing cash to help pay their rent plus of­fer­ing house­hold goods.

Chris­tiana, 48, came to the UK from Nige­ria on a work visa seven years ago. At that time, she was a carer for the el­derly and at first the Home Of­fice was happy for her to work, but later changed the de­ci­sion and are no longer will­ing to re­new her visa.

And while Chris­tiana ap­plied for leave to re­main, she wasn’t al­lowed to work or claim ben­e­fits, re­ly­ing on First Base for help.

Dami vol­un­teered at the agency while se­cur­ing a place to study mid­wifery but that’s been re­voked.

The fam­ily’s case has been taken up by MSP Joan McAlpine who is hor­ri­fied at moves to de­port them. She ar­ranged for them to meet Mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Ben Macpher­son in Ed­in­burgh.

Although Holy­rood has no power over im­mi­gra­tion de­ci­sions, Mr Macpher­son ex­pressed in­ter­est in the fam­ily’s plight and promised to look into their case.

Ms McAlpine said: “Mr Macpher­son was very sym­pa­thetic. It is so dam­ag­ing that peo­ple who wish to do use­ful work are treated like this be­cause of the UK’s hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment pol­icy.

“John won over so many view­ers in Bread­line Kids when he was shown to be so cheer­ful in the face of ab­so­lute poverty.

“The Home Of­fice are dam­ag­ing his ed­u­ca­tion. He was born in this coun­try and is very happy with all his friends in Dum­fries where he is a first year at St Joseph’s Col­lege.”

The fam­ily is wait­ing to hear whether an ap­peal against their de­por­ta­tion has been suc­cess­ful.

Dami said: “We are hop­ing to hear soon and are stay­ing pos­i­tive. We hope I could have the best ever 21st. I’d be able to start study­ing and see my dreams come true.

“It was over­whelm­ing to hear the Scot­tish Govern­ment has taken such in­ter­est in my fam­ily. Mr Macpher­son said nei­ther he nor the Scot­tish Govern­ment have pow­ers to pre­vent my fam­ily from leav­ing, but his in­sis­tence in sup­port­ing my fam­ily in what­ever way he can was hum­bling.

“I want to thank ev­ery­one who has sup­ported us so far. We hope that, very soon, we’ll be able to con­tinue our lives here.”

Meet­ing The fam­ily with Joan McAlpine MSP and Mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Ben Macpher­son

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