A grandmother who has been married to a British man for 27 years has told of the “humiliating” moment she was removed from the UK and said: “I was treated like a terrorist”.
Irene Clennell, 52, was forced to leave the country on Sunday after spending more than a month in a detention centre in Scotland.
Writing in the Guardian, Mrs Clennell claimed security staff wrote down her every word and guarded the door as she used the toilet during her journey to her native Singapore via Edinburgh Airport.
She described being “treated like a second class citizen” and said she was “treated like a criminal”
Mrs Clennell wrote: “The authorities have shown their willingness to treat foreign-born people as second class citizens, no matter how integrated they are, and worse, treat us like criminals.”
Despite previously having been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, Mrs Clennell's rights to stay in the country lapsed after she and her husband John spent years living in Singapore to care for her dying parents.
She was granted a six-month visa in 2013, but overstayed the terms after Mr Clennell underwent heart surgery last year and suffered a hernia, the newspaper reported.
Border authorities claimed Mrs Clennell “posed a risk of violence to others”, she said.
She added: “The border authorities even claimed that I – a woman on my own – posed a risk of violence. And they ticked a form to note the media interest and public sympathy in my case, as if I was to be punished for speaking out.”
Mrs Clennel first arrived in London in 1988 and married her husband John, a British man, two years later.
They later settled in County Durham and had two children together. The couple also have a grandchild.
The grandmother plans to appeal against her deportation and urged people to stop using the word “migrant” as a “term of abuse”.
She told the Guardian: “I am hoping to lodge an appeal against my deportation, which I believe has been conducted secretly, inappropriately and with little due process.
“Above all, I would appeal to all those who have made ‘migrant’ a term of abuse, to think about the human cost of their actions. Wanting to build a life and a family, and to be around people and places that you love, is not a crime.”
A Home Office spokesman said on Monday: "All applications for leave to remain in the UK are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules.
"We expect those with no legal right to remain in the country to leave."