Anxious wait for deportation news

DOUG Houtman's future hangs in the balance today as he awaits the result of his latest battle to stay in the UK with his wife and business.The Ipswich hotelier will meet Ipswich MP Chris Mole today to hear the fate of his latest appeal to the Home Office against deportation.

DOUG Houtman's future hangs in the balance today as he awaits the result of his latest battle to stay in the UK with his wife and business.

The Ipswich hotelier will meet Ipswich MP Chris Mole today to hear the fate of his latest appeal to the Home Office against deportation.

As reported in The Evening Star on Monday, the threat of deportation from the UK has been looming over the American's head since he received a letter on July 23 telling him to leave now or face being removed to the USA.

Mr Houtman, 46, emigrated across the pond with his English wife, Sue, 41, to run the Portman Hotel in Crescent Road after her mother gained the lease. The couple married in Michigan on April 2, 2002 and moved to England on October 14.


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He was advised by US officials to get a six-month tourist visa and then he could apply for permanent residency in Britain. However, when he applied for the permanent visa he was told he would have to go back to the States.

The couple have been caught-out by a change in the immigration law which was implemented in April 2003 to stop abuse of the rules by foreign nationals marrying British women. Mr Houtman's visa expired on April 14 and he fears could be thrown out of the country at any time. A Home Office spokeswoman confirmed that there is no appeal to strict immigration laws.

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At today's meeting he is expecting to hear if a letter written by Mr Mole on his behalf will have made any difference. He hopes the news is good but fears the worst.

He said: "I am more ready to throw the towel in today. I am being categorized as an asylum seeker or refugee, which I don't like as it implies that I am abusing the welfare system. I am not.

"I have been left out in the cold and at the moment they have made me feel like it is not worthwhile continuing to investigate my case.

"But I have had a lot of support from the public. People have been stopping me in the streets saying how unfair it was, especially with so many refugees coming into the country and abusing the system."

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