Afghan teen who feared UK would deport him killed himself
The teenager arrived in the UK at the age of 13 and had been granted temporary leave to remain until his 18th
An inquest has found that a teenage asylum seeker who feared he would be deported from the UK back to Afghanistan took his own life in Birmingham this year.
The 19-year-old, who has not been named, had arrived in the UK as an unaccompanied 13-year-old after fleeing Afghanistan and claimed asylum. He was granted temporary leave to remain in Britain until the age of 18, but was then at risk of deportation, meaning he had to make another asylum application to the Home Office.
He was found dead in the garden of his accommodation in Birmingham on April 21. He is thought to have died the day before.
The teen was anxious about whether he would be allowed to stay in the UK, with the Home Office sending thousands of refused asylum seekers back to Afghanistan in recent years, including those who arrived as unaccompanied children once they turned 18.
The coroner at the inquest heard that the teen had told his personal adviser, Stacy Clifford, that he was concerned about his immigration case. Clifford had been supporting him in his transition from childhood to independent living as an adult.
She told the inquest: "He was a bit upset because he hadn’t heard from his solicitor about his immigration case."
Clifford added that he was not motivated to keep himself clean or study at college due to the uncertainty around his case.
The Guardian reports that the inquest also heard the teen had been found to be working in a pizza shop without payment and was likely to have been a victim of modern slavery.
Louise Hunt, senior coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, concluded that his death was suicide.
Benny Hunter, of the Da’aro Youth Project, which supports young asylum seekers and refugees, said: "The death of this teenage boy from Afghanistan is a tragedy and an indictment of this government’s approach to the care of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
"This young person was granted only temporary leave as a minor, was denied protection as a refugee, and then later took his own life. The Home Office must be held accountable for the damage their hostile policies are causing vulnerable people."
A Home Office spokesperson said they were "saddened" by the death of the teenager, adding: "Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time."