Letters from a separated family: Anthony

It’s been a year since I was deported. A year since I hugged my kids or my wife. A year since I saw their faces through anything other than a bad phone connection. It never gets easier.

I have a wife and four kids back in the UK – they are my only family. The British Government has left me in a country where I have no one. They’ve also made it nearly impossible for me to get a job because of the things they say about deportees in the media, so I don’t have the money to rent a place for myself.

When I arrived I was offered a couple of courses to take for free, but with no financial support for transport I haven’t been able to take any of them. So I’m stuck – basically homeless and relying on old acquaintances for any help they can give.

The area where I am staying right now is very dangerous, with lots of killings close by. I hear lots of guns going off very close to where I am, and now a big war has been started in the area, so it’s not safe to walk around much. Since I’ve been here twelve people have been killed. I worry all the time about what will happen to me, if I’ll ever see my wife and kids again.

Gun violence in Jamaica is very high. At least 130 people have been killed already this year. I try to stay in the house when I can because the area I’m in is so dangerous. I’m afraid to be out of the house after dark and for lots of the daytime too.

Being away from my family is awful. The time I had already missed with them was devastating for all of us. I was a very hands-on Dad. As soon as the children were born I was always there and never missed even the smallest occasion. My family means everything to me, and I’ve felt incomplete every second I’ve been away from them.

I am always eagerly awaiting news about my case and my wife is working hard on my case and campaigning for me. But it feels like everyone else has forgotten me now I’m not in the country.

Every day I wake up without my children and it’s devastating. It breaks my heart when our youngest daughter asks when I’m coming home and I can’t give her an answer. I can see my kids are upset when I talk to them on the phone and the signal breaks up, or keeps cutting out, which it does pretty much every time due to bad signal in Jamaica.

I miss my wife dearly. I hate the thought that she has to bring up the kids on her own. We’ve been married since 2005 and have always been there for each other. She’s been forced into being a single Mum even though I would never have left my family by choice.

Living without my family is like living in Hell. I feel like I can’t go on with this hole in my heart. I’d ask anyone who is a parent to imagine how I feel, after a year of not holding my kids, wondering every day if I ever will again.

Sign the record of opposition to unjust deportations here.

>>>> Up next: Letters from a Separated Family: Emily & Anthony’s children