Wales

Fight to stop deportation of Carmarthen pupil

A school pupil who faces deportation after he turns 18 says he has not given up hope of being allowed to stay.

Ahmer Rana, who has lived with his foster parents near Carmarthen since 2008, said he feared for his life if he was sent back to Pakistan.

Fellow students and teachers at Queen Elizabeth High School in Carmarthen are campaigning to keep him in Wales.

The UK Border Agency said Ahmer's case had been fully considered and he must return to Pakistan.

Ahmer said: "I'm hoping I can stay. People are trying for me. It's gives me hope."

Ahmer, an only child, left Pakistan when he was 14 after his parents feared the family's lives were in danger, and he has had no contact with them since.

He turns 18 on Christmas Day and, in theory, can be deported from then, although he has not been given a date yet.

"First of all I would say I won't be safe [if I'm sent to Pakistan]. I don't know where I'm going to go, who I'm going to live with," he said.

"I don't know where my family are. No-one is going to support me or give me any money to look after myself.

"I'm really hoping and I really think my parents are alive... the British Red Cross tried to find them but they think they might not be alive."

Ahmer's friends and family are fighting for him to stay, and his local MP Jonathan Edwards has written to Immigration Minister Damian Green.

Newspaper campaign

But a UK Border Agency spokesman said both the agency and the courts had fully considered his case and had found he was "not in need of protection and must return to Pakistan".

"Mr Rana's claim was turned down by the UK Border Agency and then by an appeal court where a judge found that elements of his case were inconsistent and that he had failed to show that he faces persecution in Pakistan," said the spokesman.

"We would rather individuals like Mr Rana leave the UK voluntarily when they have no basis to remain here, but if individuals defy the decisions of the courts we are left with no choice but to enforce their removal."

Ahmer's fellow students have not given up and are collecting names for a petition - and the head boy and girl will meet Mr Edwards on Monday.

Friends have also set up a page on social networking site Facebook entitled "Don't let Ahmer Rana get deported", and there is a local newspaper campaign supporting him.

Queen Elizabeth High School deputy head teacher Allan Carter, who is also club captain of the cricket club where Ahmer plays, said: "What we're hoping in the first instance is at least [for him] to be given a stay of execution to complete his A-levels.

"What the lad wants is to stay in this country and go to university. He wants to become an accountant."

Ahmer, whose family is from Lahore, has lived in Nantycaws with his foster parents, John and Lesley Hillard, for two years.

Mrs Hillard said: "We're very worried. He's got his hopes up. He can see all the support.

"If it comes crashing down on him, I don't know what he's going to do. He's worried for his life if he has to go back."

Ahmer lost an appeal at a tribunal in August against the decision to refuse him asylum, although Mrs Hillard said she was unhappy because he had no legal representation at the hearing.

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