Twins Born In London Facing Deportation To Different Countries They’ve Never Been To
Twin brothers who were born in London and who have never left the UK are facing deportation to separate countries.
Darrell and Darren Roberts, 24, were taken into the care of Ealing Social Services in west London when they were 13 years old following the death of their mother and later the death of their uncle, who became their guardian when she died.
The twins’ father had moved abroad before their mother’s death, and they have had no contact with him for years. Neither their mother nor father had British citizenship, but Darrell and Darren were born in London.
Though neither twin has ever left the UK, Darrell has been issued with a deportation notice informing him that the Home Office plans to send him to the Dominican Republic following a prison sentence. Darren, on the other hand, has been warned he faces deportation to Grenada.
Darrell has no connection with the Dominican Republic, and he believes officials named the country by mistake because his father was born on the Caribbean island of Dominica.
Grenada, where Darren is set to be sent, is where the twins’ mother was born.
Children born in the UK are eligible for citizenship but there is an application process, and the pair believe social services was negligent for failing to organise citizenship when they were children.
Darrell is currently coming towards the end of a six-year prison sentence after being convicted of grievous bodily harm when he was a minor. According to The Guardian, his lawyer describes him as vulnerable because of his young age on conviction and his traumatic childhood.
His letter from the Home Office states its records show he has ‘no legal status in the United Kingdom’, and that the home secretary has deemed ‘deportation to be conducive to the public good’, adding: ‘Accordingly it is in the public interest that you be removed from the United Kingdom without delay.’
Darrell tried to explain to prison staff that he had been born in the UK and should not be deported, but they apparently laughed in response.
Speaking from behind bars about the ordeal, Darrell commented:
It was heartbreaking. I’ve finished my sentence; I was expecting to be released. It is mentally draining; the stress is unnecessary. I’ve got grey hairs and I’m only 24 years old.
I told them I was born here, that I’d been in primary school and secondary school here. They weren’t sympathetic. When I’ve tried talking to officers they say it is out of their control.
Darrell has been offered a grant to allow him to ‘return home’ under the facilitated return scheme, with a reintegration package worth £1,500 if he agrees to repatriation.
Darrell’s brother, Darren, is in prison for a separate offence of grievous bodily harm. He hasn’t been issued a deportation notice yet, but letters are generally sent out towards the end of a sentence.
Darren has been informed he faces deportation and has spoken to his partner, who has not been named, twice about his concerns about being deported.
The partner, who shares a five-year-old son with Darren, told The Guardian:
He said it didn’t make sense, and asked me to make arrangements to bring our son to visit him. He was shocked.
The application for British citizenship has a good character requirement, meaning any applicant that has been sentenced to a long prison term will not qualify, even if they are UK-born.
The Home Office automatically issues a deportation notice to anyone without citizenship who has been convicted of a reasonably serious offence with a custodial sentence of more than 12 months.
Darren and Darrell have a younger sister, Freya Valie Roberts, who is a student at Bristol University. She said her brothers’ case ‘highlights the systemic racism built into our institutions in Britain’, adding that the social care system ‘neglected their duty in nationalising the boys’.
Me and my siblings are their closest immediate family. Removing them from their home would be splitting them from the only family they have.
A Change.org petition has since been set up to help support the twins, with a goal of 2,500 signatures.
Darrell’s immigration lawyer, Syed Naqvi, pointed out the Home Office’s caseworker ‘does not seem to appreciate that Dominica and the Dominican Republic are two different countries’, while Darren’s lawyer, Andrew Sperling, described the situation as ‘cruel and unjust’.
A spokesperson for Ealing Council said attempts had been made to help the twins naturalise, saying the children’s services had ‘repeatedly’ engaged with the necessary parties to ‘provide all documentation to allow them to apply for immigration status’, but neither Darrell nor Darren ‘signed the documentation to allow it to be progressed’.
The council added that it would continue to try to help with the issue as part of the twins’ leaving care services until they turn 25 later this year.
A spokesperson for the Home Office says prisoners who are served with a deportation notice are able to provide reasons why they should be exempt, and that arguments will be considered before action is taken.
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