A family living in Eastbourne is calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene and help them stay together after an immigration battle.
British citizen Dominic James, his American wife Katy and their two-year-old British daughter Madeline face being split up for up to a year after the Home Office said Katy must return to the US and leave her husband and daughter in the UK while it considers an application for her to live here.
The couple, who have been married for nine years and returned to Eastbourne last autumn, have started an online petition which is gaining massive support calling on the Prime Minister to intervene.
Dominic, of Glendale Avenue, said, “My parents, sisters, nephews, and cousins have lived in Eastbourne for 30 years. We have a deep connection with the community of Eastbourne and have many friends and a well established life in the town.
“We recently applied for a visa, requesting the Home Office to consider an application for my wife to remain in the UK. We included 15 letters of support, including personal messages from close friends, our doctor, our daughter Madeline’s nursery, our parish priest and bank manager.
“We told the Home Office how my wife Katy has lived and worked in the UK before, for more than three years as my spouse when we were first married in 2006, never claiming benefits, paying her taxes and living a productive life in the UK.
“Our family wrote the stories of how my grandfathers fought and died in the wars for our country, to secure the freedom of their future generations. But it was all to no avail: the Home Office says that my wife can return to the US on her own, leaving me to look after our daughter without her mother.
“They refused our application on the grounds that breaking a family apart is a reasonable and justifiable decision, even though Madeline’s life will be broken apart.
“I never believed, when in 2009 we decided to spend a couple of years in the USA, that we wouldn’t be able to come back and live in the UK. We’d lived in Edinburgh for nearly three years before this, as she was granted a spousal visa without any problems in 2007 which enabled us to work the whole time and enjoy our first few years of marriage in Britain.
“I rue the day I decided to try life in America for a temporary period in 2009 as I had no idea that the UK government would close the door on us and deny us the right to return. All of us who find ourselves unable to live here with our non-EU spouses never expected it; a betrayal of our rights as British citizens, locked out of our own country, exiled for the mistakes made by previous immigration policies.
“Our life has been on hold since we applied. Their verdict is a great blow to us and will impact the life of all our close family, and especially my daughter.
“We are not prepared to spend nearly a year separated, a requirement of the UK Family Immigration Law and the visa processing time that would separate us. It is an immoral, brutal, law, which has no place in British life.
“I think our case is an example of how unjust, how fundamentally destructive this Conservative government is with its immigration policies; how careless, how negligent the Home Office is with the crucial, fundamental right of a citizen, the very right that my ancestors fought for in the wars: the right to live freely in one’s own country.”
The couple have the support of Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell and are now planning to appeal against the Home Office decision.
A Home Office spokesman told the Herald, “All applications are considered on their individual merits and in accordance with the immigration rules.
“This case is ongoing so it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
The petition https://www.change.org/p/david-cameron-mp-david-cameron-stop-destroying-british-families currently has more than 1,000 signatures.
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