Editor's comment

18th March 2005 at 00:00
Unless a miracle happens, Artur Graham, whose story is featured on our front page, can soon expect a visit from the police. He will be taken from his home and new family in Huntingdon and, no doubt after some long and bureaucratic process has been completed, taken to an airport and placed, against his will, on an aircraft.

A few hours later, he will arrive in a province which is now as foreign to him as France or Spain is to most of our readers. His destination is Kosovo, which has been torn apart by war - a war in which most of his family, including his parents, have been murdered.

When, and if, Artur is deported, Huntingdon community college will wave goodbye to one of its best students and the community will lose one of its most promising young citizens.

His older brother, still awaiting the outcome of the Home Office's deliberations, may soon follow.

The humanitarian case for allowing Artur to stay in this country seems overwhelming.

But let us assume that we are not a caring society. That we have become the kind of country which is prepared to destroy the prospects of a bright, hardworking and well-liked teenager as we dogmatically enforce our immigration policy. That we judge our fellow human beings not by their needs but by what they have to offer us. Even then, Artur's deportation will be a travesty.

He has been doing well at his college. His BTEC electrical engineering qualifications will make him extremely employable. Britain needs thousands more of his kind - whether home-grown or from overseas - and we are privileged to have him among us.

His achievements, as a boy who arrived with precious little English, are a tribute to further education. We would be hard-pressed to find a better example of what colleges can achieve.

Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, must remember from his previous job as Education Secretary the importance of engineering skills to our economy.

Artur believed Britain was a country which rewarded hard work. No doubt the college also believed that, in training him, it was helping to tackle the national skills shortage. If Artur is deported, he and his college could be forgiven for thinking they have been wasting their time over the past two years, not to mention taxpayers' money.

Even if you don't care about the humanitarian arguments, Mr Clarke, let him stay.

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