The constituency MSP for a Canadian family facing imminent deportation has described the UK Government as being “out-of-touch” and “immigration-obsessed”.
Kate Forbes, the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said she was “deeply weary” of the policies coming from the Westminster administration and added that they “actively undermine progress in the Highlands”.
Along with their five children, Jason and Christy Zielsdorf have lived and worked in Scotland for more than eight years. During this period the couple invested £300,000 in Laggan Stores, as they ran a café and holiday-let business.
Mr Zielsdorf has had his driver’s license removed, and the family have been warned they will be “bundled into taxis and taken to the airport” on 4 May.
Kate Forbes MSP said: “Few dispute that the Highlands need more families, more businesses and more localism.
“And yet in the next few weeks, the UK Government will actively and intentionally deport a family with five children and thereby close a shop and café, based in a small community.
“Either, the UK Government is so far removed from the Highlands that it hasn’t clocked that we have more of an issue with emigration than immigration, or it is too obsessed with a one-size-fits-all immigration policy which it applies with bludgeon force to anywhere and anyone.
“Either way, it is not helping the Highlands.”
The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch continued: “My response is, of course, deep concern for the family at the heart of this latest deportation scandal.
“But I am also deeply weary of policies and politics being deployed by Westminster which actively undermine progress in the Highlands.
“For all the pretty words, it’s the actions that count and there are few more despicable than deporting a family that have done nothing but raise their children and invest in a local shop.”