Helen Pidd; 30/1/10
They hail from the land of the free, the home of the brave, a place where it is said anyone can prosper regardless of colour, creed or religion. But dozens of Americans have tried in recent years to gain asylum in Britain by claiming they were persecuted in their homeland, according to figures released to The Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act. British Home Office statistics show that between 2004 and 2008, 45 Americans submitted asylum applications to the UK Border Agency, claiming they had fled the US and were unable to go back because they had a well-founded fear of persecution. Fifteen Canadians also applied. All were turned down. A US Government source said the American applications were most likely submitted by self-declared ”political refugees” claiming they faced discrimination under the last administration. The applications from the US peaked in 2008, the final year of George Bush’s presidency, when 15 Americans submitted asylum claims.