America's 'new Britney' deported by UK visa officials

July 10, 2009

A US teenage singer dubbed the “next Britney Spears” and her severely disabled grandmother have been ordered to leave England by UK immigration officials.

Taylor Horn, 16, and wheelchair-bound Lesley Jones were interrogated for more than three hours at John Lennon Airport, Liverpool.

They had travelled on a flight from France, to spend five months living in the UK and to promote Taylor’s music career.

But on arrival in Liverpool on July  5, the girl and her grandmother, 57, were detained by UK immigration officials.

They then had to return to Liverpool from Surrey on Wednesday for a further three hours of interviews, when they were told they must return to the US with immediate effect.

Before preparing to leave the country the Americans accused the UK immigration agency of “underhand” tactics and vowed to take legal action.
Their lawyer has lodged an appeal based on “race grounds”, claiming anti-American bias is behind their deportation.

Mrs Jones and Miss Horn allege that immigration officials at John Lennon Airport:
• Locked multiple sclerosis sufferer and heart attack victim Mrs Jones in a cell-like room.
• Refused to give them food or water.
• Demanded they sign documentation and statements without explaining what was contained within them.
• Subjected them to anti-American comments.
• Refused them phone calls.

The Americans had planned to visit the UK until November so Taylor, a resident of Britney Spears’ hometown of Kentwood, Louisiana, could attend a series of promotional media interviews.

Local Liverpool newpaper The Echo covered the story and claims immigration officials wanted a valid certificate of sponsorship from her record company BMI as Taylor was coming to the UK as an “entertainer”.

But the Americans insist the 16-year-old was not being financially rewarded for any “work” and the laws for “non-visa nationals” on the UK Border and Immigration website appeared to support their claim that it was not required.

They claim that in interviews, it was suggested that both parties were trying to “circumvent the system to move to UK”.

A spokeswoman for UK Border and Immigration Agency said: “We have strict rules in place to protect Britain's border and the responsibility rests with applicants to demonstrate they meet the requirements of these rules and will comply with any conditions attached to their leave.

“Where they do not, entry will be refused. The system is firm and fair, and it applies to everyone.”

Source: Liverpool Echo

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