So this evening I attended a meeting at our local Church about a major local youth event my son is participating in. Towards the end of the event, our local Parish Priest Fr Kevin O'Shea came forward and asked to say a few words. I expected a short prayer or a couple of nice words about what a fine bunch our confirmation students are.
What he said turned me cold and made me feel sick. He explained that there was a family living locallly who have a deportation order against them. This was taken out in September 2013. As a result, the family are not legally allowed to work and have been surviving on enforced charity. They have been regularly relying on food and donations from the local RC community and charities who help refugees etc. Apparently, despite being denied the ability to support themselves, they have to report to see immigration officials at Heathrow Airport every two weeks. The cost of getting to Heathrow is pushing the family to breaking point. Fr Kevin said that the family have asked for donations of clothes as they have none. The lady in question is 5'8" and takes size 20. She only has the clothes she is wearing. The familiy have four children under 18. The two older ones who require clothes are 17 and 18. The two younger ones have received a donation.
I believe that this family are being treated in an inhuman manner. If people are to be deported, they should not be left in limbo for months on end, with no means of support. The system is clearly broken if this is how people are treated. We all hear all manner of cobblers about refugees (AKA Asylum Seekers). All I can say is that having heard this story, I am feeling a bit less proud to be British.
Fr Kevin O'Shea can be contacted at the Sacred Heart Church http://shmi.info/