Family deported from town

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A COMMUNITY has been left in shock after border guards raided the home of a mum and her two young children and sent them back to Pakistan.

Bushra Irfan and her children, Abdullah Irfan, eight, and Abdul Rehmann Irfan, seven, turned Hartlepool into their home since fleeing three years ago.

But friends and neighbours have spoken of their despair and disappointment after the family had their application to stay in the country turned down. Their home 
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in Hucklehoven Way, in Hartlepool, was raided at 7am on Tuesday and the family were kept in detention before being flown back to Pakistan yesterday.

Bushra, who regularly attended sessions with Hartlepool’s asylum seekers and refugees group, was said to be “absolutely terrified” about returning to Pakistan.

Her two children were described as “lovely little boys who integrated well in the community” by the headteacher at St Joseph’s RC Primary School, where they studied.

After moving to Hartlepool, Bushra applied for asylum for the family in the UK.

But after their application and a subsequent appeal was rejected by an independent judge, Bushra was told she would be deported back to Pakistan along with her children.

Margaret Hodgson, headteacher at St Joseph’s School got to know the family well since they moved to Hartlepool.

Ms Hodgson told the Mail: “Bushra is a very shy, gentle and approachable lady and she was absolutely devastated when she discovered the family were going to be deported.

“She was terrified about the uncertain future they now face, but she tried to be positive for the sake of the children.

“Abdullah and Abdul are lovely, friendly little boys.

“They will be a huge, huge miss to the school, as will the family to the community.”

Peter Gowland, project officer for the town’s asylum seekers and refugees group, based in St Joseph’s Parish Centre, in the town, said: “Bushra is a kind, devoted person.

“She is always willing to give her time and commitment to others and was a regular here with us and she was also a volunteer with St Joseph’s Church.”

“She will be sorely missed by all.”

UK Border Agency (UKBA) confirmed the family were deported yesterday.

A spokesman said: “The UK has a proud history of offering protection to those who genuinely need it.

“Those whose asylum claims are rejected have the right of appeal. If that appeal is rejected and the individual chooses not to leave the UK voluntarily, UKBA will enforce the law.

“In family cases, all ensured returns are overseen by an independent panel of child welfare experts to ensure that the best interests of children are fully taken into account.

“Specially trained officers carry out all ensured returns.”