The Samuel family, whose 12-year-old son John featured in the BBC documentary Breadline Kids, visited The Scottish Parliament at the invitation of Joan McAlpine MSP who has been campaigning for their right to remain in the UK, which is the only real home John and his sister Dami have known.
Although the Scottish Government has no power over immigration decisions, Migration Minister Ben Macpherson expressed interest in the family’s plight and expressed concern for their welfare. He promised to look into their case while emphasising that it was the Government in London who had all powers of decision making. Mr Macpherson also pointed out that the Home Office had made a mistake in their most recent letter to the family’s solicitor in which the mistakenly said John was born in Nigeria and in fact he was born in the UK.
SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said:
“Ben took a real interest in the case and was very sympathetic. Dami had been offered a place to study midwifery, which she was unable to take up due to her migration status. Her mum was a nursing assistant until her visa was withdrawn. It is so damaging that people who wish to do useful and necessary work are treated like this because of the UK’s hostile environment policy.
“John won over so many viewers in Breadline Kids when he was shown to be so cheerful in the face of absolute poverty. The UK Home Office are damaging his education, he was born in this country and is very happy with all his friends in Dumfries where he is a first year student at St Joseph’s College”
Dami Samuel also commented saying:
“It was both fantastic and overwhelming to hear that the Scottish Government has taken such interest in my family. The Minister for Migration, Mr Macpherson, was honest when he said that neither he or the Scottish Government have powers to prevent my family from leaving the UK, but his insistence in supporting my family in whatever way he can was very humbling.
“I want to thank everyone on behalf of my family who has supported us thus far and hope that with everyone’s support we manage to stay in the UK and continue our lives here with my ambitions of becoming a midwife come true”