Mum felt ‘criminalised’ by airport staff who asked her to ‘prove she lives in UK’

A woman says she has “never been so humiliated” after being told by airport staff to prove she lives in the UK – despite living here for 15 years.

Laurence Sauvage-Lumb, who is originally from Lille, France, lives in Ormskirk, Lancashire, with her husband and daughter.

The 52-year-old had traveled to her native country to visit the grave of her twin, who died in Lille last year, before flying back to the UK on April 14, Cheshire Live reports.

However, after landing at Manchester Airport around 10.30pm, Laurence claims she was confronted by passport control officers, who asked her how long she was planning to stay in the country.

The mum says they then asked her to “prove” she lived in England during the incident – despite the fact she has lived in the UK for 15 years, is married to a UK national and secured settled status post mum.

Security lines at Manchester Airport earlier this month.

She said: “When I was asked for my passport, I was asked ‘how long are you planning to stay in England for?’ I said ‘I live here’ and she said to me ‘well you’re French, so can you prove this?’.

“There was no mention of settled status. I’ve never been so humiliated.”

According to Laurence, the error was down to a “glitch”, which she says may have occurred because she had renewed her passport, and her settled status, showing continuous residence of five years in the UK, is linked to her old passport.

After a delay and much to-ing and fro-ing at passport control, Laurence managed to access the internet and show, via an email, that she did have settled status and did have the right to stay in the UK.

She said: “It took a good 10 minutes and my husband was saying ‘what are you doing? Why are you taking so long?’

“It was because I had been asked to prove that I had settled status and it wasn’t linked to my current passport.

“It was the hostility and blunt language that shocked me… the manner is linked to an anti-foreigner attitude. It was something I had never experienced before.

“My address in Ormskirk is on my passport.

“She chose to ignore that, with no apology about the ridiculousness of my settled status not being linked to my new passport – it’s up to me to do it online apparently.

“For 48 hours after I was fuming. This is a consequence of Brexit and this is how we are starting to be treated in England now.

“I have never really experienced anything like that – and you don’t have any right of reply about how you are being treated in that situation.

“They shouldn’t assume that criminals are trying to enter England; it certainly felt just like that, as if I was being criminalized, and I can’t be the only one.

“It’s a hostile attitude; it’s damaging to the UK and I didn’t need this extra stress.”

Manchester Airport was contacted by Lancs Live for comment and referred the publication to the Home Office for comment.

The Home Office was also contacted for comment, but did not respond prior to deadline.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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