Stop the removal of Jenni James from the UK on Monday 15th September: The decision is unfair, life limiting and puts Jenni and her UK partner at risk of harm
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I am a New Zealand citizen who last year was finally able to start out on the worldwide journey I have been dreaming of for years. My gorgeous son Zain has started university and I have been saving up forever. It was not part of the dream to end up on Change.org fighting for my freedom of movement, to keep myself safe, and for my relationship. I have done nothing wrong.
I started travelling round New Zealand, where I met a fellow traveller from the UK and we started a relationship. We decided to travel together and see how it went. Lucky us, we toured New Zealand and visited Australia before deciding to travel to Europe where Trace could visit her family and save up a few pennies for extra travel while I visited friends and places and did some volunteering in Europe - we then had hopes for further travel over the ocean.
We got to the UK on May 6th and began an epic journey round Ireland and England. I then visited Spain and was stamped back in the UK at Leeds Bradford Airport with a 6 month visitor visa taking me to December 7th 2014. Trace (my partner) organised an extended career break until September 2015 to enable her to travel further with me.
Following a roadtrip round the UK and a trip to the Netherlands with Trace, I visited France and Spain and then, on arrival back in the UK on 31st August I was shockingly, and unfairly detained, fingerprinted and issued with a notice of removal at the same airport that had stamped me just a few weeks before. I had been in the country 73 days - not even not even 3 months. The removal notice says no right of appeal.
During the last 12 stressful, lonely, and scared days I have been struggling to seek a review from Immigration, get a solicitor to grant legal aid to challenge the decision by way of judicial review, to gain any understanding of the implications of this for my future and to understand what has gone wrong. This has been an impossible task. The reason given verbally for my removal was simply that immigration did not believe I am a traveller and that I would not leave the UK - though nothing I said could have given them that idea. I have no intention to stay in the UK, though I would still like to visit the Lake District and Scotland.
I was interviewed in shock, having had no sleep for a few days. I am also dyslexic - Information on the removal sheet is unclear, unfair and wrong.
I could have given pages and pages of evidence of travel arrangements e.g. to visit friends in Italy, Sweden, the Pyrenees and the USA, many emails arranging volunteer placements across Europe through Workaway and Helpx and other travel documents. I wasn't given that opportunity. *
Traces local MP Fabian Hamilton and his team have been supporting us and have contacted immigration who could give no more clarity as to the reason for the original decision. They said they had no record or knowledge of my son in New Zealand even though I was questioned about him at length. Because of this they agreed to relook at the decision but there has been no progress in 11 days. Waiting for this decision means we now have no hope of a solicitor sending papers for Judicial Review before removal.
I'm hurtling towards being removed from the UK to Spain on Monday (2 days) and no-one can tell me whether I will be detained or further refused entry there. Officials at the Embassy and at various legal centres have said to me this is happening to a lot of New Zealanders and other travellers in recent months.
Being removed from the UK and having to explain the reasons for this at other borders has far reaching and life limiting outcomes for me. It could:
1) Make me seem a risk in other countries and ruin my lifelong travel dreams
2) Prevent me from visiting my partner, or her family in the UK for 10 years and therefore threatens our relationship.
3) Threaten my ability to ever be able to visit friends and family across the world
4) Threaten my future career opportunities as an environmental resource manager
5) "Out" me as a gay woman, and Trace as my partner. In places where it is illegal or dangerous to be gay / in a same sex relationship this puts us at risk
UKBA need to reconsider this removal decision, reinstate my visitors visa and remove my fingerprints from record. I am a genuine traveller and a removal has far reaching, life limiting and scary outcomes for me and my partner. I have done nothing wrong and have because of policy and practicality no other way to challenge this.
The decision to refuse leave to enter itself was in our view irrational and disproportionate. The maintenance of that decision in light of my willingness to depart becomes even more disproportionate. It is also of concern that public money is being spent on removing a person willing to leave voluntarily.
I am scheduled to be removed by Monarch Airlines from Leeds Bradford Airport at 7.30am on Monday 15th September
*I am happy and able to forward this documentation.
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