Teenager faces deportation to US

A SUFFOLK couple have told of their “living nightmare” as they wait on a Home Office decision that could see their daughter deported back to America.

Jonathan Schofield

A SUFFOLK couple have told of their “living nightmare” as they wait on a Home Office decision that could see their daughter deported back to America.

Kursten Dixon, 19, is currently living with her mother, stepfather and younger brother and sister in Ashwell Road, Bury St Edmunds, but visa regulations mean she could soon be on a plane back to America and an uncertain future.

Matthew Dixon, 29, her stepfather, said Kursten was paying a terrible price for a decision she made when she was just 17.

Mr Dixon met Kursten's mother Taressa in Oklahoma, where he was teaching football, in 2001, and they married soon after.

He initially stayed in America with his wife and her three children - including Brooke, now 15, and Gavin, 12 - until 2007 when the family decided to move back to England.

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He said: “There had been a stabbing at the children's school and problems with guns so it seemed right to come back to Bury St Edmunds. Kursten had a boyfriend at the time and chose to stay in America.”

When the relationship ended, Kursten decided to rejoin her family in August last year but having turned 18 her visa application was denied and she was forced to come later in the year on a six-month temporary visa.

Mr Dixon, who runs a window cleaning business with his wife, said: “When she arrived at Heathrow she was interrogated for 15 hours due to her previous visa denial.

“It was a terrible time and we were doing everything we could to stop her being sent back.”

Eventually Kursten was given two days to spend with her family before finally being granted a stay of six months.

Since then the family have spent more than �10,000 on lawyers in their battle to keep Kursten in England.

Mr Dixon, who plays football for Thetford Town, said: “She and all of us are in a living nightmare that is taking its toll on my wife and family.

“We are working with lawyers in an attempt to reverse the decision but all we can do is wait and hope.

“If she had come with us when we moved there would not have been a problem. But just a matter of months means she may well have to go back with no home, job, family or any support - this can't be the right thing to do.”

A UK Border Agency spokesperson from the Home Office said: “Ms Dixon assured the UK Border Agency when she arrived in the United Kingdom that she only intended to visit for a temporary period. It was on this basis she was allowed to enter.

“After fully considering the circumstances of her case, the UK Border Agency concluded she did not meet the requirements to remain indefinitely. This decision has been upheld by an independent immigration judge.

“Anyone who is in the UK illegally is expected to leave and the UK Border Agency will not hesitate to enforce their removal where necessary.”