How a champion boxer got caught in Britain’s immigration dragnet

A little-known Home Office scheme designed to deport more ‘foreign criminals’ has left Kelvin Bilal Fawaz – and many others like him – living in an endless limbo. By Daniel Trilling

The opening ceremony of the London Olympics, on 27 July 2012, should have been a moment of triumph for Kelvin Bilal Fawaz. The talented young boxer had recently been crowned the amateur light middleweight champion of England, and he was meant to be marching with the athletes of Team GB as they paraded into the Olympic Stadium.

Fawaz was born in Nigeria, and trafficked to Britain as a child – where he was rescued by the state and raised in care. Now he was a champion, ready to represent his country, with a lucrative professional career ahead of him. But there was one problem: he wasn’t a British citizen. In fact, it wasn’t clear if he had permission to stay in the UK at all. As a child, he had been given temporary leave to remain until just before he turned 18 – but he had to apply to extend this as an adult, and by 2012, at the age of 24, he was still waiting for a response. Like the rest of us, he watched the Games on television.

Related: The struggle to be British: my life as a second-class citizen

Continue reading…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *