US Woman Who Has Lived in UK for 53 Years Wins Deportation Appeal

London: A 75-year-old American woman who uses a Zimmer frame and is unable to digest solid food has won her appeal to remain in the UK after living here for 53 years. The Home Office attempted to deport Polly Gordon after she served a 12-month sentence for supply of a controlled drug. She was convicted of the offence in July 2019 at Edinburgh sheriff’s court. According to a judgment in the immigration tribunal, she has a past history of substance abuse and addiction to alcohol. Gordon first appealed against the Home Office’s plans to deport her to America, a country she has not lived in since her early 20s, to the first tier tribunal of the immigration court.

The judge there accepted that Gordon was frail with limited mobility and had a range of health problems including atrial fibrillation, colitis, difficulty consuming solid food, and had recently suffered from shingles. He said: “I presume that given her age and infirmity she will feel the impact of leaving her home country of the last five decades more than most.” He also accepted that she would not be able to access US government healthcare programmes as she had lived outside the country of her birth for more than five decades. He said her risk of reoffending was “relatively low (but not trivial)”. However, in his judgment he agreed with the Home Office that she should be deported.

Gordon appealed further to the upper tribunal in the immigration court where three senior judges found in her favour, allowing her to remain in the UK after finding that the first judge made an error in law in the way he calculated her prison sentence.

The upper tribunal judges found that Gordon, who was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK in 1977, had been lawfully resident in the UK for most of her life and was socially and culturally integrated into life in the UK. They accepted her offence was at the lower end of the scale of offending.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,

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