Deportation threat to American man who made home in Fife

A campaign has been launched to stop an American-born man from being deported by the UK Home Office as he says Kirkcaldy is now his home.

Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 7:55 pm
Steffan Harris

Steffan Harris (43) has lived in Scotland for eight years, having married a Scottish woman while living in the United States.

But now with the couple separating, the Home Office has told Steffan his residency has been denied, and a petition has been started by his friends to keep him in Scotland.

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Steffan, who is originally from Virginia, says he has faced persecution in the US and has even been assaulted by neo-nazis, but in Kirkcaldy has been completely embraced.

He said: “I’ve been told ‘you’ve got to go’ when I’ve tried to be a good citizen, tried to do everything right.

“I received a letter from the Home Office on Wednesday saying that my residency was denied but I’m allowed to appeal.

“I’m appealing because I love Scotland.”

He added that although he has worked as a chef in Fife he is also currently making his own video game.

“This is home. I’m no longer an American, I’ve become Scottish just by being here, I love this place and I don’t want to lose my home.

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“I pay taxes, I contribute, I even volunteer. I went to help serve food at Christmas at the Salvation Army.”

Steffan says that he was even attacked for being black in America, something that hasn’t happened during his eight years living in Scotland.

“I grew up in the South. I was assaulted by a group of neo-nazis. In a bar there was a bunch of guys screaming zeig-heil; my friends and I confronted them and we got beat down.

“I’ve never experienced any sort of racism since I’ve been here.

“Everybody in Scotland has treated me as an equal and judged me on how I act and how I present myself.

“That’s what makes me feel comfortable here.

“I can walk through a store and not worry about being followed by a security guard, that’s a great feeling.

“I have a great landlord, I’ve made great friends, the town is beautiful.

“I’ve lived all over the world, Korea, Canada, Colorado, California.

“I’ve never been anywhere that made me just want to stay, until now.”

Steffan has even turned to his local MP for help, and she has now written to the Home Office in search of an explanation.

Lesley Laird, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said: “I was contacted by Mr Harris and his friends for help and was very sorry to hear about his current circumstances.

“I’ve written to the Home Office to ask for the reasons behind their refusal to offer him a visa and also guidance on what more he can do to appeal this decision.”

The Home Office says it does not comment on individual cases.

However, a spokesman added: “All applications are carefully considered on their individual merits, in line with the immigration rules and on the basis of the information provided.”