Isabella Acevedo gazes out at the farmyard-themed play area outside the visiting room at the Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre and considers the ugly symmetry of the previous week's events.Cue violins!
Unless an 11th-hour legal challenge is successful, she will be deported to Colombia on Thursday.
"I saw Mr Harper on TV," Acevedo, 47, says. "He is still with his rich friends, still earning good money. Me, I have lost everything: my job is gone, my friends are gone, my dignity is gone. In one day my whole life has changed."Well, yes. He, you see, isn’t in this country illegally. You are. His relative wealth vs your relative ‘poverty’ has nothing to do with it, save that it provides the opportunity for employment by someone.
That someone doesn’t necessarily have to be you.
"What makes me sad is that there are thousands and thousands of people in this country in the same situation I was in [without papers allowing them to work]. If I hadn't worked for somebody so important there wouldn't have been such a scandal."So…you admit that you shouldn’t have been here? You knew you were committing an offence?
Knowing how common her position was, Acevedo didn't fear she would be caught. "I never felt worried because I just thought 'I'm working'," she says.But we don’t want you to. Because while you are here, illegally working in the black economy, we are having to pay benefits for a UK-born unemployed person to sit of the sofa and watch ‘Jeremy Kyle’ all day. So, sorry, but off you go.
"I thought there must be so many people doing the same thing, I didn't see anything wrong with it.
"Everyone has the right to opportunity. And if they would give me my papers I would pay my taxes and that would contribute to the economy."
"It seems the system hurts people who are just trying to survive and have done nothing wrong," Acevedo says. "The laws need to change."No, I think we’ll keep our laws as they are, thanks very much, Acevedo. And our country. Why not try to change your country to be more like this one?
*coined by the irrepressible DumbJon
Update: Awww, never mind, progressives, you'll find another one!