Dahaba Ali Hussen, a journalist who has lived in London for 19 years, was stopped from boarding a Eurostar train on her return from a brief holiday in Paris. The Dutch citizen, who has settled status in the UK, was held up by British Border Force agents as she moved through checks at the Gare du Nord in the French capital. One officer then told her she would be subject to “further checks” before he confiscated her passport, much to the shock of Ms Hussen.
The Border Force officer said the additional checks were needed because Ms Hussen had been denied EU settled status in the past.
Ms Hussen took to Twitter to detail her horrific experience, as the posts quickly spread on social media and drew attention.
The 29-year-old wrote: “I am stuck in Paris and apparently being detained under the Immigration Act 1971.
“I’m an EU citizen and have been in the UK since I was 10 and I have my FULL rights to remain.
“Despite this @UKBorder confiscated my passport. @ukhomeoffice why is this happening to me?”
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In following tweets, Ms Hussen described being in “total shock” and “shaking” from the encounter.
She said that the three-day solo trip to Paris had been her first holiday in years “partly because of the pandemic but also because the Home Office didn’t grant me my full EU Settled Status until earlier this year”.
Ms Hussen added that the holiday had been “overshadowed by my journey home”.
Speaking to The Guardian later about the experience, Ms Hussen said that the Border Force officers “completely changed their tune” after the social media post went viral.
She added: “This is not an isolated incident. They do it to people of colour the most.”
The In Limbo Project, which tracks the post-Brexit experience of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU, complained that “this ordeal would not have happened if the British government had issued us all with a physical proof of our immigration status”.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “As part of routine security checks, Ms Hussen was delayed for a short time, but at no point was she told she couldn’t travel to the UK, nor did she miss her train.
“We apologise for any inconvenience this caused Ms Hussen, but we will always prioritise the country’s security.”