A mum-of-three is facing deportation despite living and working in the UK since she was five-years-old – because there is no proof that she exists.
Caroline Bennett, who believes she is around 32, does not exist in the eyes of the law because she has no passport, driving licence or birth certificate.
She thinks she was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and that her name at birth was Kavere Memba.
Her now estranged mother married an Englishman and flew to the UK with Caroline on her passport in 1989.
Her mum was given a year to register her in England but failed to do so and her birth certificate was lost, as well as the proof that she ever existed.
The family moved to Burton-upon-Trent, Staffs., when Caroline was five, and she attended Castle Park Primary School.
But teachers there struggled to pronounce her African name and decided to call her Caroline Bennett, a name she has kept ever since.
She was given a National Insurance number when she was 16, which is the closest thing she has ever had to an identity.
Caroline always assumed she was a British citizen but now, through no fault of her own, she faces deportation and being made homeless.
She has paid taxes all of her life, has never committed a crime, and has attended three different schools.
But she recently discovered she is not a citizen of any country as the Kenyan consulate cannot find any evidence of her being born and UK authorities also have no record of her coming into the country.
Despite dreaming of being a carer, she cannot work because she cannot provide proof that she is eligible to and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has said she cannot receive any benefits.
And next week, Caroline and her three children – who were all born at Queen’s Hospital in Burton – will be made homeless.
She is now being evicted after rent arrears reached £1,500, which she must pay before she can get her home back.
Caroline has no way to raise her own funds and also needs £811 to apply for a Further Leave to Remain visa so she can stay with her children in the UK.
If she does not raise the funds she could face deportation – but British authorities do not even know where to deport her to.
Yesterday (Thurs) Caroline said: “All this time I thought I was a British citizen; it’s only now that I’m trying to get a passport that I realise I have never been a British citizen.
“I’m basically illegal.
“When I found out I wasn’t a British citizen I was just shocked.
“I didn’t know what to do, I was just panicking.
”It feels like I’m trapped. There’s so many things that I want to do with my kids.
“I want to learn to drive, I want to get a job, I want to take them on holiday, but I can’t.
“It’s like I’m in a prison. I can’t go forward with my life. I can’t work, that’s one thing I would love to do.
“At the moment I would do literally any job, just to have some extra money for the kids.
“This is really impacting their lives, and it’s only going to get worse until I can get some ID.
“When I’m at home it just gets me down, it just makes me depressed.
“Before, I was blaming myself for everything. I started telling myself it was my fault, but now I know it isn’t because I didn’t know anything about it.”
Her concerned friends have now set up a GoFundMe page, appealing for donations to help Caroline.
A spokesperson for the DWP said: “An individual must provide appropriate proof of identity before we can process a benefit claim.”