I’ve just heard about a case in which an American Shakespeare academic hoping to remain in this country has been arrested and remains in custody.
Dr Paul Hamilton received his PhD from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford in 2015 and remains a local resident, applying for funding to continue his research, and assisting in running conferences for Kingston Shakespeare Seminar in Kingston-upon-Thames. His application to remain here was turned down before Christmas, though it appears he was not told of this fact, and he is due to be removed from this country on 1 February. He was arrested on 17 January in Stratford and is being held at an Immigration Removal Centre near Lincoln until his deportation. The authorities took this action because they judged that, without close family ties, he was likely to disappear.
I do not know Dr Hamilton, but his treatment strikes me as shameful given the fact that he has contributed significantly to the cultural life of this country during his 10-year stay and has done nothing to deserve being treated like a criminal. In this year above all we are celebrating Shakespeare’s worldwide status, and showing off our Shakespeare assets such as theatre companies, museum collections and educational establishments. This treatment can do nothing but harm to our reputation as a civilized country in which to come and study.
If you wish to support Dr Hamilton’s case you can add your name to the list at the end of Timo’s blog, or you might like to write to your MP, or put something on Facebook or Twitter.