In just five days the Brain family, Gregg, Lachlan and Kathryn pictured above, will be deported from Britain by the Home Office on account of their visas running out. The family, who have made their home here in Dingwall, will be forced on a plane to the other side of the world despite being fantastic contributors to the local community. It’s a national embarrassment that this is happening, and we need to do whatever we can to make sure it doesn’t happen.
The story of the Brains so far is simple: they came to Scotland from Australia in 2011 as Kathryn began a degree in Scottish history and archeology at the University of Edinburgh. They had spent the previous six years trying to plan the big move across the world. Things were made a little more complicate too in 2009 when Gregg and Kathryn were joined by young Lachlan.
But they managed to move in the end as Kathryn graduated and the family settled here in Dingwall in the Highlands.
The crucial part of this story is that they came here to Scotland after heeding the call of the Scottish Government and Home Office in 2007 to attract people from old parts of the British Empire back to Scotland, praying on their connections to the country with their ancestors to attract new immigrants. That’s why the Home Office is now in the state of deporting people that they had once supported to come over here.
The most interesting part about the Brains’ story is that Lachlan is becoming a fully-fledged Gàidheal as a pupil at Dingwall Primary’s Gaelic-medium unit. He has been part of Gaelic-medium education since Croileagan at age 3 and he is well on his way to being a fluent member of the Gaelic-speaking community.
However, the Home Office are now saying that the family’s visas have expired, with changes to the laws since they arrived meaning that this is technically correct.
But it is absurd that this family – who have added so much to the community and assimilated so well as any family could be expected to – will soon be deported.
Immigration has been a bone of contention in Britain for many years now. When the economic recession happened, those to the right of our politics looked for another group to blame rather than their friends the bankers, and as such immigrants – those who have come to Britain to build for themselves a better life and a better life for those that live here already – became the targets.
This is absolutely wrong and utterly unfair. We shouldn’t abide by this story that is spun and we should especially disagree with it when it means a young family are threatened with losing the home they have worked so hard to build.
Even if the arguments for lower immigration were palatable, isn’t it massively disappointing that such a conclusion as has been reached for the Brains exists and that we do not welcome such a family to our country with open arms? I’d imagine that they are prime example of the good that immigration can do for our country, but unfortunately the Home Office disagree.
The Brain family are just one example of what is happening across the country, but with how close to home this is it has had an impact on me personally, but also I’m sure the local community.
There has been a lot of support for the Brains from the SNP, with the area’s MP Ian Blackford doing a lot to raise awareness of the case and even a question today at Prime Minister’s Questions, where Chancellor George Osborne was asked why the Home Office is making such a harsh decision on the family. Despite the support there has been though, and now attention enough as well, it is likely as things stand the Brains will be deported – and what an embarrassment that will be if it happens.
The fight is not over though, and the louder the outcry about this case the more likely it is that the Home Office will change their policies, if even only in this specific case.
And so that’s why I ask you to sign this petition to help save the Brain family in their homes here in Dingwall:
I don’t oven say that petitions are worthwhile, but right now any sign of support for the family is helpful, important and needed and that’s why I plead with you to do whatever you can to help.
I sincerely hope that there will a happy ending to the Brains’ story and that they can live here in Dingwall while young Lachlan can keep on learning Gaelic.
It’s not just the Brains that lose out if they get deported, but our community and our country will lose the status it has for being a place where people can come and make a better life for themselves. Surely we won’t stand idly by while that happens?