AN Australian father who was at the centre of Scotland’s highest-profile immigration case in recent years has hit out at the Home Office for “torturing innocent children by ripping them away from their parents”.

The story of Gregg and Kathryn Brain and Lachlan, their then seven-year-old son, and their lengthy battle to remain in their Highland home touched the hearts of thousands of Scots two years ago when they faced deportation.

They had then been living in Dingwall for five years after selling up everything in Australia to realise their dream, but the UK Government scrapped the post-study work visa they had set their hearts on and applied the rule changes retrospectively.

However, their tale went worldwide when Kathryn eventually secured a job as a museum curator with Macdonald Hotels and Resorts and their flagship Aviemore resort – a post that qualified for a Tier 2 visa and enabled them to stay in Dingwall.

Writing in The National today, Gregg highlights cases in the UK which illustrate that Donald Trump’s policy of separating immigrant parents and their children at the US border is happening here – despite Theresa May’s description of the policy as “deeply disturbing”.

“I don’t care what your immigration status is, there is no excuse – none, none at all – for torturing innocent children by ripping them away from their parents,” he writes.

“The Home Office knows this, and that is why their own rules say that they are NOT ALLOWED to do it. But it’s happening.”

The case involves a mother called Kishi, who dropped her two-year-old daughter of at a nursery while she attended an interview at an immigration centre.

“Kishi was detained, despite having absolutely no indication that this would occur (after all, she left her child at a nursery for the day).

“You can easily imagine that Kishi’s first, last and only concern was to ask immigration officials what was going to happen to her daughter. In the event, the child was put into emergency care when *nobody* came to collect the child.

“Kishi was not told where her child was for two days; it was a month before she saw her daughter.”

Gregg then considers the case of Leysa, who was forcibly separated from her six-month-old daughter and two-year-old son for four months, while she was detained.

“The Home Office then actually tried to argue that Leysa could be deported because she wasn’t the children’s primary care-giver.

“Of course, the only reason that they could even say this was because it was the Home Office that had separated them and put the children into care in the first place!

“These are just two of over 300 such cases, just in the last year, and numbers are exploding.”

He said he had always believed the Home Office’s decision on his family’s case “was not born out of malice”, and adds: “Bureaucratic incompetence and monolithic contempt, perhaps; but not malice.

“I even think that our subsequent, rather horrific treatment by both the Westminster government and various trolls was motivated far more by embarrassment and pride, than actual evil.

“But what happened to Leysa? That took three successive steps: to detain her; separate her from her children in defiance of departmental rules; and to then make the argument that she could therefore be deported.

“That was not accidental incompetence or contempt. It was methodical, deliberate planning. This was a purposeful, carefully planned decision to torture two children.

“And they were tortured to achieve only one pitiful goal: it was all so a departmental official could – completely artificially – improve the quality of their argument in an immigration case.

“Again, there are absolutely no words to describe this evil.

“If you think immigration status justifies torturing children – children who have had no say in their current circumstances, then I have no words for you.

“None at all.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We try to keep families together wherever possible and when considering returns, put the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children at the centre of any decision. We are unable to comment on the cases described without further detail."