A mum who has lived in the north west for more than 10 years says she was left feeling ‘criminalised’ when she returned to England from her homeland last week.
Laurence Sauvage-Lumb, originally from Lille, France had traveled to the country to visit the grave of her beloved twin who passed away in Lille last year. The 52-year-old, who lives in Lancashire with her husband and daughter, was returning from the trip last Thursday (April 14) when she says the incident occurred at around 10.30pm.
She told Lancs Live she was left ‘humiliated’ after passport control at Manchester Airport quizzed her on how long she was planning to stay in the country, before she was asked to ‘prove’ that she lived in England. The mum, who has lived in the UK for 15 years, is married to a UK national and obtained settled status post Brexit, says she was shocked by the ‘hostility and blunt language’ used.
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Laurence, who lives in Ormskirk, explained: “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 was on the floor, 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 ten minutes, and my husband was saying, what are you doing? Why are you taking so long? And it was because I had been asked to prove that I had settled status and it wasn’t linked to my current passport. She didn’t politely say, well you’re French and can you provide it, it was more a blunt, hostile, ‘prove it.’
“It’s 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 it’s just not conducive to anything and I didn’t need this extra stress.”
Manchester Airport was contacted for comment, and referred us to the Home Office. The Home Office was also contacted for comment but did not respond prior to deadline.