Thu | Apr 9, 2020

UK cites Iraq in 'copy and paste' refusal letter to Jamaican man

Published:Friday | November 1, 2019 | 1:46 PM
Jamaicans O’Neil Wallfall and his British partner Karen McQueen - Martin Godwin/The Guardian photo

A man caring for his terminally ill partner has been told he faces deportation from the United Kingdom to Jamaica because the Home Office concluded that he “failed to demonstrate that his life would be at risk in Iraq”.

The UK Guardian is reporting that O’Neil Wallfall, 49 – who has never been to Iraq – received a refusal letter that appeared to indicate his case had been confused with someone else’s.

The Guardian says the government also said it would not be “unreasonable” or “unduly harsh” to expect his British partner, 56-year-old Karen McQueen, to relocate to Jamaica with him.

McQueen has a diagnosis of terminal cancer and is awaiting a transplant after kidney failure.

In the letter rejecting Wallfall’s application for leave to remain – which his lawyer said provided clear evidence that the government “copies and pastes” letters and disregards individual submissions when reaching its conclusions – the Home Office says: “You have claimed that you will be unlawfully killed on return to Iraq … you have not demonstrated … that death is virtually certain.”

After being contacted by the Guardian the Home Office said it was reconsidering its decision “in light of further information”.

Wallfall has been in the UK since 2002 and has been in a relationship with McQueen for three years.

She is dependent on him for support with her serious health conditions, the couple say.

In the letter, officials say they do not believe the couple’s relationship is genuine because Wallfall’s name is not with McQueen’s on the tenancy agreement.

However, under the Home Office’s so-called hostile environment rules those without the right to reside in the UK have no right to rent property.

Wallfall said: “The Home Office should not have made the mistake of saying I’m from Iraq. How could they have considered my case properly if they wrote things like that in the refusal letter?

“I believe that my life will be at risk from gangs if I’m sent back to Jamaica. My case should have been considered properly without cut-and-paste information about Iraq in it. The Home Office has treated me so unfairly. They locked me up in detention for many months. My mum died while I was locked up and I was taken to her funeral by immigration officers.”

He said he was angry that the Home Office had decided his relationship with McQueen was not genuine.

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