By Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2626

Tories risk a man’s life to push through deportation

This article is over 5 years, 6 months old
Issue 2626
Britain’s immigration controls are a racist device designed to divide us
Britain’s immigration controls are a racist device designed to divide us (Pic: dannyman/Wikipedia)

Sangarapillai Balachandran, his wife and three children refused to board a deportation plane to Australia on Monday.

The Home Office has already tried to remove the family from Britain. They are Tamils from Sri Lanka who have Australian citizenship.

Balachandran has suffered three strokes in the last six years and fears he could die on the flight.

He has said the strokes have happened because of stress over the Home Office’s handling of the family’s immigration status.

One of his daughters, Sinthuja Balachandran, said, “We have struggled with the Home Office for five years, but now we’ve come to the end of the road.

“When I hear the words ‘Home Office’ I get scared.”

The family agreed to voluntarily leave Britain twice in the last year, but were unable to because of his medical condition. He was taken off a flight in February and rushed to hospital.

The family’s treatment at the hands of the Home Office shows up Britain’s racist immigration rules.


Karthika Balachandran, another daughter, said, the family was being treated “like criminals”.

Balachandran and his family came to Britain in 2007 after he was

head-hunted by an engineering company. After his work visa expired, they applied for indefinite leave to remain in 2012 but were refused by the Home Office. A judge ordered the Home Office to reconsider the family’s case in 2013.

The Home Office refused it in February of last year.

Without the ability to work legally or any savings left, destitution forced the family to go to the Home Office. They asked to be put into detention—rather than sleep on a Heathrow Airport terminal floor.

Sinthuja Balachandran said, “The Home Office told us that our father was too unwell to be detained.

“They agreed to put us up in a budget hotel next to the detention centre on condition that we signed papers to return voluntarily to Australia. We felt we had no choice but to sign as we cannot survive on the streets.”

Their treatment is part of a broader agenda to make life difficult for migrants living in Britain.

Just last week the Tories said they would double NHS treatment charges to £400 for migrants from outside the European Union.

Labour should pledge to shut down all the immigration detention centres and give migrants and refugees indefinite leave to remain.

And it should commit to defend freedom of movement and all migrants regardless of skills.

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