UK & World News
Yashika Deportation Row: BA Asked For Answers
The Home Office will not intervene in the case of a Mauritian student facing deportation, and it is demanding answers from British Airways as to why it refused to fly her home last week.
Officials confirmed that BA had refused to take Yashika Bageerathi back to her home country after a high-profile campaign in support of her.
"Airlines have the ability to refuse to carry any passenger at any time," Mandie Campbell, the director general of immigration enforcement, told MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee.
But the senior civil servant said she wanted answers from BA on why that had happened.
Ms Bageerathi received a last-minute reprieve from deportation last week as a result of the decision by BA, although she has since been locked in Yarl's Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire.
The case has attracted almost 175,000 signatures on an e-petition in support of the promising student who is due to take A-level exams.
Campaigners are angry that the 19-year-old is being separated from her mother, who is facing deportation at a later date.
Both their asylum cases - claiming they are fleeing a violent relative - have failed.
Ministers have been under pressure to step in. But James Brokenshire, the immigration minister, told MPs he would intervene only in "exceptional" cases - and this one did not fall into that category.
He told MPs that her case had been through the proper legal process and resulted in a Home Office decision that she does not need protection from violence or persecution.
And he argued that it was important to stick to the "principle" that people without a right to remain in Britain are removed.
Mr Brokenshire gave evidence after MPs heard from the student's headteacher and mother, who broke down in tears.