Editor’s comment: It’s wrong that Tricia had to call us at all

Tricia Persad was denied immigration status . Picture: POLLY HANCOCK

Tricia Persad was denied immigration status . Picture: POLLY HANCOCK - Credit: Archant

As delighted as I am that the Gazette seems to have rescued a young Islington woman from being wrongly sent abroad, Tricia Persad’s plight really shouldn’t have required the intervention of a newspaper.

The government has said over and over it is trying to make amends for the catalogue of failings it visited upon an entire generation. But looking through the last few issues of the Islington Gazette it’s clear the problems facing Caribbean migrants and their families are far from licked: a fortnight ago, we told the story of homeless veteran Michael Callender and his 10-year battle for recognition as a British citizen. Today we carry the tale of Tricia and her mother.

Every delay, every error on the part of the civil service – and the problem is far more insidious than that – could be life or death. Politicians and civil servants go home at night, but the nightmare for the people affected is constant. People are being denied the already meagre benefits they live on; the work with which they support their families; their sense of identity and self-worth; their mental health.

Instead of planning her life, Tricia has been battling anxiety and depression, caring for her mother without enough money to do so, and isolated from her social circle.

She’s right there will be others in the same situation, and to those people: if we can help by telling your story, we will.

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But what about those who for whatever reason don’t feel able to speak to a newspaper? They should be able to trust the Home Office will do right by them without us sitting in on the conversation, but the government has yet to earn that trust. And until stories like Tricia’s stop surfacing, it will be hard to believe the problem has truly been identified, never mind solved.

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