Britain has become a Big Brother state that holds more information on its citizens than ever before?
Try telling that to Elizabeth Odei, 40. She claims to have arrived in this country as a visitor from Ghana in 1990 and to have been here, illegally, ever since. But in all that time she apparently managed to leave not a single trace of her presence.
Miss Odei, who lives in Camberwell, South London, had applied for indefinite leave to remain in Britain under the rule that allows those who have been here 14 years to stay (almost 9,000 illegal immigrants have been granted such a right since the policy was introduced by Labour in 2003).
The Home Office had refused, saying she simply could not prove she had been here for as long as she said. Appearing at the tribunal this week, she was able to provide no evidence of when she arrived.
Her passport, she said, had been handed to a firm of solicitors to make an initial application for residence several years ago. But she claimed she could no longer get in touch with them because their offices had been demolished.
She had no correspondence from the past 20 years because she could not read or write, and nor did she have any medical records.
How, then, had she survived all that time? Not working, she said, but largely thanks to the charity of the Seventh Day Adventist Church to which she belonged and with whose members she had lodged. Three of its members gave evidence on her behalf, telling how they had known her since ‘the Nineties’.
Just how well they knew her was a point explored during cross-examination by the Home Office official. Asked to name the three children of one of the witnesses whom she claimed to have known since arriving in Britain, she got two wrong.
Her input to the hearing was conveyed via a translator.
Despite apparently spending two decades in Britain, she said she struggled ‘to express’ herself in English. As is common practice, the presiding judge said she would deliver a ruling on Miss Odei’s appeal in two weeks’ time.
Source: Daily Mail