Deportation battle lost

A man who has spent most of his life in Britain is today being forced to leave behind his Suffolk family after the Home Office refused to overturn a rejection of British citizenship.

SUFFOLK: A man who has spent most of his life in Britain is today being forced to leave behind his Suffolk family after the Home Office refused to overturn a rejection of British citizenship.

James Rioux, 33, was born in America to a Suffolk mother and a Canadian father and moved to Britain after his parents divorced as a child.

He applied to stay in this country permanently but his application for British citizenship was refused this last week because he was convicted of drink-driving in America in 2005.

Home Office officials say Mr Rioux is not eligible for citizenship until his conviction is “considered spent” in 2012.


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After being refused citizenship, Mr Rioux's campaign to stay in Britain was backed by Suffolk Costal MP John Gummer who said he was “absolutely scandalised” by the decision.

He then took the case to the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, in hope that the decision would be overturned.

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Mr Gummer said: “I have personally talked to the Home Secretary, who looked into this case in great detail.

“But under law he does not have the power to overturn cases such as this and because of the information provided within the application we have been unable to grant citizenship.

“It is such a great shame - after going to school here and having a family here and a British mother, he clearly has ties here.”

With his three-month visa expiring today, Mr Rioux has no option but to leave his family and wife-to-be and return to Idaho, America.

Mr Rioux, who currently lives with his mother in Kirton near Felixstowe, said “I have no option but to leave, I know that if I stay here without the correct forms I will be refused entry for a further three years.

“I have been told that there is nothing I can do, there is no emergency extension of my visa - I have to leave.

“I could understand if I was just a normal American or someone from any other country, but I'm not I have roots here and I belong here.

“My only option is to return to America and apply under other visa schemes.”

Should Mr Rioux have been granted British citizenship? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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