Anthony Bryan has been in the UK for 52 years having left Jamaica when he was 8-years-old. He was nearly sent back to Jamaica. His status remains precarious – and he’s not the only one.
Bryan was shocked to be told he was in the country illegally and faced forced removal. Earlier in November, he was sent to an immigration detention centre and booked by Home Office staff on a flight back to Jamaica.
The case is the latest in an emerging scandal over the Home Office’s brutal treatment of a number of long-settled, retirement-age UK residents.
They are being aggressively pursued over their immigration status. Bryan’s MP, Kate Osamor, said these cases were just “the tip of the iceberg” and described the situation as barbaric.
The first and last time 60-year-old Bryan flew on a plane was in September 1965. It was then when he left Jamaica to join his mother who was working as a seamstress in London. He has lived continuously here since then, attending London primary and secondary schools. He works and pays taxes as a painter and decorator, helping to bring up his children and seven grandchildren.
A last-minute intervention by an immigration lawyer meant his seat on the BA flight to Kingston on 22 November was cancelled. Bryan was then released from detention on 29 November, but his status in the UK remains precarious. He has to report again to the Home Office on 5 December and is worried that he could be rearrested.
Bryan’s position is very similar to that of Paulette Wilson, who was detained and dispatched to an immigration removal centre at Heathrow in late October. Wilson, 61, had been in Britain for 50 years, and had not been back to Jamaica since she left at the age of 10. Forced removal from the country was prevented by her MP, but the Home Office has said she remains “liable to detention or removal” until her status is “regularised”.