A mother-of-four who was born in the UK was shocked after being ordered to leave the UK and go to America – where she’s never been.
Despite living in Scotland her whole life, Anne Devlin, 33, received a letter from the Home Office last Saturday (Nov 4th) telling her to make arrangements to exit the country.
On Home Office records, the full-time mum was listed as American but was born and raised in the Drumchapel area of Glasgow.
Anne attended primary and secondary school in Scotland and went to college in Clydebank before working as a carer in Glasgow,
She married a Scottish man, has four Scottish children and has paid taxes in the country all of her life.
But despite all of that, the 33-year-old mum was ordered to go to America – where she’s never been and doesn’t know a single person.
Anne said: “What on earth was I meant to do when I got off that plane in America?
“I’ve never been to America. I don’t have any family or any friends there – I don’t know a single soul.
“I’ve lived in Scotland my whole life, I was born in Glasgow and lived there most of my life.
“My mother moved to Scotland from North Carolina in America when she was just one year old which is why I have American nationality.
“I faced being sent to America on my own with nothing.
“It was horrible, my 11-year-old kept asking ‘is mummy going to be taken away from us?
“I thought I was going to be taken from my husband and kids.”
The law in 1984 stated that Anne had to take her mother’s nationality because she was not married to Anne’s father.
The 33-year-old was given ten days from the day she received her deportation notice to ‘prove she was allowed to be in the UK’.
Anne was also stripped of her provisional driving licence and told she had no lawful reason to be in the country.
She has lived with husband Michael in Dumbarton for 14 years.
The pair married in September and have four young kids.
Michael works in retail while Anne stays home to look after their 11-year-old son Harvey, twins Carly and Cameron, both eight, and two-year-old daughter Isla.
Anne said: “It has been terrifying for our young family, we were shocked by it all.”
The full-time mum appealed the letter and got in touch with local MP Michael Docherty-Hughes.
Mr Docherty-Hughes said: “I contacted the Home Office on behalf of Mrs Devlin and did everything I could as her MP to get the matter resolved as quickly as possible.
“As a mother of four young children who has lived in the UK her entire life, to receive a letter from the UK Government threatening imminent deportation to a country she has never been to is deeply distressing for my constituent and her family.
“The prospect of Mrs Devlin being torn away from her family highlights the folly of the UK’s ‘one size fits all’ immigration policy which all too often lacks compassion and common sense.
“Scotland is, and always has been, Mrs Devlin’s home and she has my full support.”
In the wake of the appeal, the Home Office responded to Anne.
The 33-year-old was told to ignore the deportation letter.
She was assured she would remain in the country.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We have spoken to Mrs Devlin and discussed her situation. We have laid out the options for her which include outlining the required documentation for an automatic claim to citizenship.
“She will not face any enforcement action by the Home Office.
“Mrs Devlin applied for Biometric Residence Permit in the summer but the required paperwork was received three weeks after the deadline for submitting it. She was advised at the time that she could reapply. No further application was received.”
In March, the mum-of-four applied for a biometric residence permit which would grant her the right to remain in the UK.
She applied to the council for council tax receipts – as evidence she could use to prove she had been living in the UK since before 2003.
However she was only given 14 days to collect her documents and apply for her residence permit.
Anne claims she missed the deadline by one day and was told she could not reapply.
The young mum described the time-frame as ‘unrealistic’.
She said: “These things take time, to apply for documents and send away information and evidence.
“The two week deadline was unrealistic, especially for people with a young, busy family.”
Today (Friday) Anne said she had been contacted by the Home Office to confirm that she now has British Citizenship.