On Tuesday, Shiromini Satkunarajah was arrested and taken to Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre. She has lived in the UK since the age of 12.
Shiromini Satkunarajah, described as an exceptional engineering student is set to be deported just three months shy of her degree.
She’s a student at Bangor University. Satkunarajah has been informed that she will be sent back to her birthplace, Sri Lanka, on February 28th.
Satkunarajah has lived in the UK ever since her parents fled the Sri Lankan Civil War when she was 12 years old. Originally, she was a dependent on her father’s student visa, then she was given leave to complete her secondary education in the UK when he died in 2011. This week, she was informed by the Home Office that her application for a full student visa had been denied.
Bangor’s head of electrical engineering, Iestyn Pierce, described Satkunarajah as an exceptionally able and diligent student. “I have no doubt that Shiromini would achieve first-class honors,” he said.
A relative of Satkunarajah said that her main concern was not being able to complete her education.
Halting the deportation:
A Change.org petition that has gathered 16,000 signatures is calling on Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary to grant Shiromini leave to remain. Unis Resist Border Control, the campaign group said that Ms Shivani Jegarajah from Justitia Chambers will lodge a judicial review to halt Tuesday’s impending removal from taking place.
Free University of Sheffield Spokesperson said that the deportation of Shiromini is representative of the cruelty of the Home office more widely. Previous interventions in deportations have had success with contacting flight companies to ask them to use moral discretion and halt the flight: in this case, contact Manchester Airport and Qatar Airways. They have been campaigning to keep Satkunarajah in the UK.
Sanaz Raji from Unis Resist Border Controls said that Shiromini is a brilliant student with a bright future ahead, however, they advocate for all students, regardless of their academic aptitude and that no one should be denied the right to an education.
“We have seen far too many international students woefully mistreated both by universities who use us as ‘cash cows’ to financially prop up their institutions, while the Home Office attacks us in order to justify their racist and xenophobic migration policies,” she added.