Angie had to go to court to look out for her child's best interest, because the MPs paid to represent us are not doing their job, they're not upholding the law, nor are they abiding by their own party manifesto to respect families who they state are 'the bedrock of society'.
Unfortunately, unlike Angie, many families cannot afford to take on the government in court. For them family break-ups and living in exile remain the only options until the government affords respect to families, and changes our immigration rules, regulations and practices, ensuring they reflect common sense and compassion.
"2014 has been such a difficult year only because I have had a major fight with the Home Office to stay in the country with my daughter, Ceilidh and partner Matthew. That fight came to a conclusion on 24 December when I finally received a five year residence card. The fight should never have found its way to me. I applied for the residence card in July 2013 as my previous VISA was due to expire in December 2013. The Home Office directed me to apply for a Derivative right of residence card as the mother of a British child so I dutifully did as they suggested. I had already been living here and supporting my daughter for more than five years previously so fully qualified to remain under those guidelines.
During the course of 2013, my application was sent back to me unprocessed, then after being returned, was lost by Home Office workers for several months, sent to the wrong processing department for an unknown amount of time and finally rejected for no logical reason. In April 2014, after the application had been lost and four months behind on the promised processing time I received the very blunt response that I had to immediately abandon my daughter and leave the UK. Scotland had been my home for six years and I was ordered to leave. Worse yet, my daughter was not allowed to leave and would have had to go into foster care costing the taxpayer upwards of £75,000 per year for the remainder of her childhood. That would have been a total bill of £ 375,000 paid by you. What a senseless decision this was!
Much of my fight has been made public but since August I have had to remain somewhat quiet as a court order specified that I not speak of my own court case. I will continue to honour that order as I have no intention to share the details of court proceedings. I can now tell you however that the case is finally resolved and we won. Two separate judges agreed that the Home Office has to issue me with a residence card. This after having to fight and waste a great deal of money and time.
Even after those orders were made, the Home Office still refused to obey the orders. Thanks to the continued prodding of Cllr Donald Morrison and my solicitor, they finally issued my card on Christmas Eve. It has been a very long, stressful and expensive battle which could not have been won solely on my own. Therefore I would like to humbly and graciously thank everyone who has helped to win this battle.
My partner Matthew has paid for my lawyer, supported Ceilidh and I financially and has also offered an enormous amount of emotional support and unconditional love. Without him, our fight would have been lost so it is impossible to articulate the intensity of my gratitude and love for him and also his family. It is such a blessing to be part of this beautiful family. I must mention my friend Kim who has also offered the sort of support and love which has kept me sane. Kim set aside her own life in an instant back in April to help me and has continued with her selfless support throughout the year. For that I am blessed.
Ceilidh has shown such a great amount of dignity through this year’s stress which reinforces what I have always known; my daughter is the classiest woman I know and my pride shines knowing that she is mine.
The amount of supportive letters I received when this began was positively overwhelming. I have always known that my friends were brilliant but to have this personified in the past year has truly been an amazing experience. I feel like the most loved person on earth. The letters from all of you were indeed used in the court case so not only did they provide me with a sense of emotional support, they helped to articulate to the judge the insanity of the Home Office’s attempt to deport me and the reason I should continue to live in Scotland.
Along the same lines, the support offered from the local community in Arbroath, Tayside and many other places in Scotland, I was reminded how fortunate I am to have been adopted by such a lovely community. The response from strangers and friends alike has warmed my heart. Knowing that this support exists has kept me strong and positive.
Angus Council has been very understanding so my thanks must go to them as well. My co-workers , associates and managers have had to accommodate changing schedules and confusion whilst the Home Office took such a long time to confirm my work eligibility. Thank you for your patience and help in sorting this.
Thanks to my solicitor Jamie Kerr for all of your hard work and guidance. It certainly has not been a straight forward case so thanks for all the research you have done.
Finally to Cllr Donald Morrison and the other wonderful folk in the SNP branch. Thanks for keeping on top of all of the correspondence and helping to decipher confusing Home Office nonsense. You are the reason I won my fight in 2009, 2010 and 2014. You are Fabulous!
In conclusion, I would like to remind everyone that although my small battle with the Home Office has been won, there still rages a war which many people don’t even know exists. During my own struggle to remain in the UK legally, I learned that thousands of other legal immigrants have been deported already and thousands more are going through the same process at the moment.
The Home Office has succeeded in deporting hard working family members of British citizens, bankrupting thousands of innocent people and wasting billions in taxes.
The rules which govern immigration in the UK are unjust and insane. Even for those of us who qualify to remain within these extremely difficult family immigration rules, the Home Office use underhanded tactics and actually violate their own guidelines in an effort to cull the population of immigrants. They have no consideration for the lives that are being ruined and the vast amount of money wasted just so that they can boast that a few more immigrants have been deported.
What they fail to report to you is that the sort of immigrants being targeted are the ones who contribute the most to the UK society and who are less likely to ever become a burden. Basically, they go for the “easy targets”. In fact, after these fine people are deported, the gap left in society actually harms the communities who relied on these particular immigrants.
You have all been lied to about the negative impact of immigration. Without immigrants, the NHS would crumble, the UK would lose billions in revenue and taxes, the education system would suffer enormously, hundreds of Universities would be forced to close and utter chaos would consume every community. This is a nation built upon the positive influence from various cultures. Immigration is the foundation of the UK society and economy. Just as individual Brits are welcomed in all nations of the world, so should the UK welcome the cultural influence from these other nations.
British families will continue to suffer and communities will feel the impact left every time anther family and/or individual has been devastated. I have spoken with the victims and cried with the families and individuals who have been negatively affected. Please, before you decide to judge someone based on their origin of birth and/or reason for residing in the UK, do your research. There are several wonderful organisations which work to raises awareness of Home Office practices.
BritCits and Right to Remain (addresses copied below) are just two of many which help to highlight the plight of immigrants in the UK. The volunteers working for these organisations contribute a great deal of time researching the facts. They also offer support and guidance to those of us affected by Home Office's unjust rules and their questionable application. In short, they know what they are talking about so please take a look at their sites and support the great work that they do. These pages are not only for helping but also for informing. They speak the truth.
Right to Remain http://righttoremain.org.uk/
When my personal battle erupted in April, my beautiful friend Kim set up a facebook page to help inform and gather support. The appropriately named “Dinnae deport oor Arbroath angie” https://www.facebook.com/helpangiefayefighttostay?fref=ts has certainly accomplished a short term goal. This page will remain alive and active because although I have won my case, I vow to continue to highlight the thousands of cases of Home Office abuse and corruption. This raging war found me and my goal is to continue to campaign, share the truth and support other victims until the Home Office decides to see sense. Please continue to support the cause. We all want to live in a better Britain and this is one step towards that.
Thank you all again for everything. I am truly blessed.
Angela Faye Smith"
More on Angie's plight here.
More on Angie's plight here.