Britain Is Trying To Deport A Man With Down Syndrome To Lebanon
His family say he isn't claiming benefits and will have no one to look after him if he's removed from the UK.
This is Wadih Chourey, who has lived in the UK for 17 years and has Down syndrome.
His solicitor told BuzzFeed News that Wadih has been in the UK since April 1997, when he applied for but was refused leave to remain in the country by the Home Office. She explained:
Following refusal of his application, Wadih appealed against the refusal and the matter was heard by the First Tier Tribunal. That appeal was successful on human rights grounds. The Home Office appealed against that decision and the matter proceeded to the Upper Tribunal.
The Upper Tribunal found in favour of the Home Office and overturned the First Tier Tribunal's decision. The current position is that Wadih has applied for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
His brother Camil (right) spoke to BuzzFeed News this morning.
Wadih's childhood wasn't good. He's a very soft person. If someone smiles at him, they're instantly his friend. He can't defend himself properly. I moved here 26 years ago, my brother a year after that. Wadih stayed with our parents.
We've never lied about why he's here. So many people have fabricated stories and been allowed to stay. We look after him, we don't claim benefits or whatever. Come on, man! We don't want anything – he deserves to live a normal life and see the world.
The brothers are trying to appeal the Home Office's decision.
The business secretary, Vince Cable, has written to the Home Office calling the decision "disgraceful".
Cable told the BBC:
I'm just perplexed as to why they're pursuing it. There are large numbers of cases of abuse of the immigration rule and I think the public expects the Government and the Home Office to get to grips with them. But not cases like this, it's a terrible waste of their resources and it's fundamentally inhumane, and I think it illustrates how the immigration system often fails.
And earlier this year he told the Mirror:
This is a man who cannot cook for himself, who cannot operate a washing machine or use a computer. His welfare is completely dependent on his brothers, who clearly provide a loving and caring home for him yet Home Office lawyers suggest there is nothing compelling or exceptional about the case and assume that Mr Chourey could seamlessly reintegrate into Lebanese life as if he never left.
Local residents are outraged at the decision.
Colin Marsh, the chair of Isleworth Residents' Association, told his local paper:
Wadih is always pleasant and helpful, and he is happy under the safe and loving protection of his brothers. He has settled well in the UK – residing with Joseph and helping Camil in the business on a daily basis, albeit in a very simple way. If he is forced to return to Beirut it is unlikely he will survive as he is unable to care for himself because due to his mental disability he is naive, childlike and innocent.
The Home Office told BuzzFeed News:
All applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules. Mr Chouery failed to meet the necessary requirements. The decision to refuse his application has been backed up by the courts.
Nearly 70,000 people have signed an online petition asking for him not to be removed.