Campaigners set for legal show down with Home Office for threat to Glaswegian’s right to stay
CHENNAN FEI, the 28 year old left scared for her future after being moved to a detention centre hundreds of miles from her home, has won a temporary reprieve over threats to deport her from Scotland by the Tory Home Office.
Fei, who grew up in Scotland after moving here from China as a young girl, became the latest victim of bureaucratic migration rules when the Home Office placed her in prison style detention with the threat of deportation.
Fei’s MP and thousands of supporters rallied to back her right to remain with her partner and friends that she has made in Scotland, where she has lived for over 14 years. In emotional pleas, Fei said she felt “trapped”, while her partner Duncan Harkness revealed he had planned to propose to her.
“I cannot face the prospect of not only losing my girlfriend, but potentially being robbed of an opportunity to say goodbye,” he said.
However, some hope has emerged following representations made by Anne McLaughlin MP, campaigners, and the media.
“I am pleased that the minister of state for immigration, Robert Goodwill MP, has listened to my concerns and those of Chennan’s partner, Duncan and her closest friends,” McLaughlin told CommonSpace.
“Chennan is respected and cherished within her community which she actively volunteers within. I’m delighted that she is on her way home to Scotland. Although this is not the end of her legal battles, I hope the contribution of this young woman who has grown up in Glasgow will be valued and recognised by the decision makers in her case.”
The removal of ‘right to remain’ support by the Tory Government in 2012 led to Chennan’s legal status being in jeopardy. Her parents, who also moved to Scotland, had planned to gain indefinite leave to remain (ILR) on the grounds of a long residence of 14 years. However, just three months before qualifying for this right it was removed.
Campaigners launched a ‘Help Chennan Fei Stay in Scotland- Stop her Deportation’ campaign petition on Change.org, which received over 2,000 supporters in its first day.
The Chennan case is the latest in a long-series of cases where the Tory Home Office has been accused of inhumane behaviour in relation to migrant rights, deportations, and asylum rights.
Robert Makutsa, a popular figure in the Glasgow music scene, faced deportation earlier this month - a threat that prompted widespread opposition. Police Scotland were accused of “brutality” in the handling of protests over the case.
Lord Apetsi, a Glaswegian father of two and asylum rights activist, faced deportation in March 2016 - and only won a reprieve after a high profile campaign by colleagues and MPs.
Also in March 2016 Beverley Vaanda Kanjii, a 45 year old asylum seeker and mother to a teenage son, was detained, faced potential deportation, and alleged she was assaulted by immigration officers.
The Home Office reiterated a previous statement that "If someone is found not to need our protection we expect them to leave the UK”, but refused to comment on the specifics of Chennan’s case.
Picture courtesy of Chennan Fei
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