I’ve lived in the UK for almost nine years now. I’ve got my indefinite to remain in this country. I was sentenced to two years in prison for shop lifting which I did because I had to support my children and also because my husband is very abusive to me. I have two children that were born in this country, one of which is six years, however I was still served with a deportation order while I was in prison. And I was detained for eight and a half months in Yarl’s Wood. My children were put with a family friend and were being supervised by social services.
My children suffered a lot without me while I was in detention, specially my six year old who became very depressed and redrawn, my baby was fourteen months old when I got separated from him. I was refused bail three times at the immigration tribunal; I had to go to the high court where my solicitor had to put in a judicial review against the Home Office in order to get me released from detention. I am at risk of being deported without my children and face being separated from them permanently. While I was in detention I got together with 25 women in similar situations, all in the UK for a very long time, and now facing deportation without their children.
We wrote a statement with our demands and are being help by the women, Black Women Rape Action Project, are working with us to raise our cases and getting our deportations cancelled. I just wanted to say, there is a lot of women in Yarl’s Wood who have committed crimes but they have served their time in prison and they’ve got their children, and we know this might be looked at as criminals but we are rehabilitating ourselves, along with myself, done programs in prison. They need to be with their families, with their children, and they are being detained, and it is like, is like nothing to the Home Office, you know? Keeping them away from their children, I have witnessed a lot of mothers whose children are getting arrested at 12 years old and who are being abused with other families they are with, you know?
And I just want to say that I am glad for the support we’ve been getting while I was inside. If it wasn’t for Crossroads and the other groups we don’t know how we would have gotten the proper information, they’ve put out an action alert for solicitors, other firms that helped us. And, you know, we are very grateful. There are still a lot of mothers in there who need their support and, you know, I’m just glad and I’m just grateful that I had this opportunity to be able to speak today. Thank you.