The Government Illustrated An Immigration Story With A Picture Of A Girl It Tried To Deport

The government has admitted it was wrong to use a copyrighted photo of a child it tried to deport to Chile for the piece.

1. The government has apologised after using a picture of a girl it tried to deport to illustrate a story on tough immigration controls.

The news story covers the Home Office’s decision to appeal against the decision to impose a a high court ruling on the minimum income threshold for new immigrants.

This policy, introduced by the coalition government in an attempt to keep down immigration levels, requires British citizens who want to bring over a foreign partner to show they have an income of at least £18,600 a year. This rises to £22,400 if the partner has a child.

Immigration lawyer Colin Yeo tweeted the story this weekend after feeling the image was unsuitable for the story and later wrote about it on his blog.

4. By chance one of his followers was the mother of the child in the centre of the picture. And she wasn’t happy.

5. It turned out the picture was lifted from this Daily Record story about the battle to stop Francisca’s daughter Millie Canales being deported. The government even cropped out the photographer’s credit.

Daily Record

Millie Canales was born in England to her Chilean mother Francisca and a Spanish father, who had the right to reside in the UK due his EU nationality.

When her parents split up Millie moved to Scotland with Francisca and settled in Stirling with her stepdad. Francisca then became pregnant with her new partner’s child.

But despite speaking no Spanish both Millie and Francisca were last year told that they would both be deported to Chile because they were no longer living with Millie’s Spanish father.

6. Francisca was upset by the reappearance of this picture.

@ColinYeo1 we are ever so distressed. How can we get in touch with the gov.UK website?

— Francisca Urra (@PanxaUrra)

@ColinYeo1 the rights belonged to the news paper that published our story. Who is the go home guy? Twitter account?

— Francisca Urra (@PanxaUrra)

@gerardhearne @HarleyM65 @ColinYeo1 there was not release/consent form signed. I have contacted daily record, mp, solicitor and snp directly

— Francisca Urra (@PanxaUrra)

9. Eventually the government responded. And if you visit the page now? Well, there’s not much there.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has since apologised and in a statement said the image “should never have been used in this way”.

Millie Canales and her mother were eventually allowed to remain in the UK but hundreds of families who are unable to meet the income threshold remain separated.

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Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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