August 24, 2012 by dontbringlulubook
The title of the book ‘Don’t Bring Lulu’ is the title of a song which highlights the issues faced by the Onions family when moving to America for Ron’s career.
‘You can bring Pearl, she’s a darned nice girl, but don’t bring Lulu’
In November 1967 Ron, Doris, Sarah and Louise boarded TS Bremen in Southampton. Five days and more than 3000 miles later, the Statue of Liberty greeted them in New York.
This was a memorable experience but not for the reasons you would expect; not the joy felt by travellers reaching a new land; the excitement and fear of the unknown. No. It was memorable for the welcome from the US Immigration Service.
Lulu had ‘special needs’ and as such was banned under the item ‘likely to be a charge on federal funds’.
The Onions had planned ahead with the BBC and US Embassy in London; unfortunately this had not reached US Immigration. After much debate, discussion and investigation the situation was resolved and Lulu was granted entry into the United States of America.
The same could not be said for the Chapman family who, almost forty years later, attempted to enter Canada.
Paul and Barbara-Anne sold their home in Berkshire and bought a farmhouse in Nova Scotia.
Their new life was brought to an abrupt end at the immigration hall, Halifax airport.
Officials claim the paperwork was not in order. The Chapmans believe it was an issue with their daughter. Lucy had Angelman syndrome: a reduced mental age and inability to speak. She was deemed to have learning difficulties and was therefore on the ‘banned’ list.
The fact that Lucy would not have been a drain on Canadian funds seemed to have been ignored. She did not require additional medical care or drugs.
The paperwork, right down to the permission for their black Labrador Harvey, had been checked by a visa consultancy firm and authorities within Nova Scotia.
The blanket ban on disabled immigrants was lifted by the Canadian Supreme Court in 2005. Unfortunately, this was a couple of months too late for the Chapman family.