Locked up: Paul Hamilton was arrested at his home in Stratford-upon-Avon as an illegal immigrant and taken to a cell at an immigration removal centre
A US academic who has been working on preparations to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death in Britain faces being deported after his student visa expired.
Paul Hamilton, who has been in the UK for nine years, was arrested at his home in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, and taken to a cell at an immigration removal centre 100 miles away near Lincoln.
The 42-year-old scholar, who received his PhD from the University of Birmingham in July and has an open ticket to return to Phoenix in Arizona, has been shocked by his treatment.
Speaking from Morton Hall immigration removal centre in Lincolnshire yesterday, Dr Hamilton told The Times chief reporter Sean O’Neil: ‘Emotionally and psychologically I’m devastated. To be humiliated and forced to leave the country in these circumstances is beyond words.
‘After investing my life savings in my education, earning my PhD, cultivating friends and professional associates I’m being treated like dirt and kicked out.’
After his student visa lapsed at the end of his PhD course, Dr Hamilton applied for leave to remain in the UK to continue his research.
The application, which costs £650 and must be made within 10 days of the expiry of his visa, was put forward on the basis he had built up a valuable network of professional contacts while in Britain.
Mr Hamilton was also in the process of making applications for funding to start a research fellowship.
However, he claims he heard nothing about his bid to stay in Britain – including no letter refusing his application – until he was arrested on January 17 by immigration officers.
Dr Hamilton said from Morton Hall immigration removal centre in Lincolnshire (above) that he is ‘devastated’
According to the Times Educational Supplement, a Home Office notice given to Dr Hamilton says that he was detained because ‘your removal from the United Kingdom is imminent’ and ‘you do not have enough close ties o make it likely that you will stay in one place’.
Ten days later he is still at Morton Hall, telling Politics.co.uk reporter Ian Dunt yesterday: ‘I have no idea how long it will last. I was told I would get a court date today.
‘I was supposed to get one Friday, then yesterday, then they say ‘we’ll talk tomorrow’. We submitted our bail application at 11am last Wednesday.
To be humiliated and forced to leave the country in these circumstances is beyond words
‘Still nothing. And that’s not for a decision. That’s just to get a date.’
Dr Hamilton, who is originally from California, added that he cannot access his email properly because the computers are too slow, and claimed only one fax machine in the centre works, causing problems for detainees trying to send crucial documents to lawyers.
He said: ‘Passing messages here is like passing dinner through a straw. Everything is delayed.’
Some 150 of Dr Hamilton’s friends, who say he has contributed £100,000 to the UK economy in tuition fees during his nine-year stay in Britain, have signalled their support after PhD student Timo Uotinen launched a campaign to help him.