A woman who has lived in the UK since 1988, is married to a British man and has British children and grandchildren was shockingly deported today and not even given a chance to say goodbye to her family.
Irene Cullen has been detained in Dungavel detention centre in South Lanarkshire for the last month until today when she was sent back to the country she left 28 years ago.
The decision to remove Mrs Cullen came after her husband fell sick and had to have a bypass operation following a blockage in his arteries meaning he now earns under £18,600 a year so therefore fails to meet new strict immigration criteria recently brought in by the government.
And to make matters worse an appeal was unsuccessful because she spent a few months caring for her dying parents in Singapore two years ago.
She was expecting to meet with lawyers tomorrow to launch a fresh appeal but immigration officials had other ideas and decided to deport her today with only an hours notice, meaning she has travelled with only £12 to her name with all her clothes at home.
She was also the main carer for her sickly husband who has furiously hit out at the decision.
Telling Buzzfeed news: “I think it was done deliberately so we couldn’t contact a solicitor or go through the courts. I think it’s trickery to come on a Sunday when you can’t contact your lawyer. I need people to see what these people have done.
“She’s got nothing with her; all her clothes are here. What’s she supposed to do with £12? She’s got no clothes, no fresh underwear and nowhere to go.”
Mrs Cullen was hastily took to Edinburgh Airport and sent on a plane back to Singapore were the 52-year-old has nowhere to go when she arrives. Only a distant sister who has already made it clear she has no room for her.
She told Buzzfeed from the airport: “I don’t know what I’ll do when I land. I called my sister [in Singapore] and she said she can’t put me up, so I just don’t know. How can I stay anywhere? I don’t have a wallet with me, I’ve got about £12 in my pocket. I don’t even have my clothes, they’re at home. I just have what they took from the detention centre.”
After being woke up with the heartbreaking news this morning Irene was allowed one quick phone-call to her husband and family but said she was crying too much to say anything.
The government spousal system now requires the British partner of a foreign national to be earning over £18,600 a year and be able to prove long stretches of uninterrupted stays in the UK.
Irene only fell under both under requirements because her husbands poor health meant he couldn’t work for long periods and also because she recently was back in Singapore to see her ill and dying parents in their last days.
This is such a shameful story that shows how heartless how society and governments have become, this lady has lived in County Durham for 28 years, worked here, married here, had kids here has grandchildren here, has never claimed benefits in her life but yet is treated like a criminal- locked up and then forcefully removed and for what ? Because her husband has become sick ? Because her parents died ?
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Read: Full story in Buzzfeed