“I don’t know how anyone could expect me to be separated from my baby’s daddy. My son deserves the best in life I can give him ... I hope I can give him his daddy as his first ever Christmas present.”
British citizen Emma is 24 years old, with a beautiful son with her husband Driss, a Moroccan citizen. Emma met Driss while working as a store manager in the international departures terminal at Eurostar. Emma signed up to a language course to improve her French, which is where she met Driss.
Driss helped Emma with French and she helped him with English. Over time, they became friends and a year later, fell in love in Marrakech. Driss makes Emma feel secure and she recalls the night she realised she was in love with him, “ ..the night I fell in love was the world cup final. We were in a restaurant watching the match, when I fell ill. Driss took me home, staying with me until the pain passed. I knew then that any man who loves football yet would give up the final for me is special."
They met regularly after that and finally, on Valentine's Day 2011, Driss proposed. In July 2011, Emma moved to Morocco and got married, with her family attending their wedding; they moved into a traditional house, without electricity or running water, sharing it with Driss’s family. Not speaking Arabic, Emma found it difficult to adjust. Driss bought Emma a puppy so she’d have some company while he was at work.
Emma missed her family and returned home in January to visit her mum, and found out she was pregnant. Emma was advised against travel by the doctor during pregnancy because of the risk to her and her unborn baby’s health for various reasons (including the conditions in Morocco and Emma’s medical history).
Emma accepted the medical advice and remained in the UK, trying to find a job so Driss could join them. However, she discovered that jobs were few and far between for a pregnant woman, especially in roles for which she had experience, i.e. store management positions. The pregnancy started to affect her health and Emma, terrified at the prospect of having the baby without her husband, had Driss come over for the birth.
A few weeks later, they were blessed with a beautiful son, Aymane Ben. As any parent will confirm, on holding her son, Emma knew she’d give her life for her son in order to offer him the best upbringing she could. How could she raise her first baby in an environment she wasn’t happy in – wasn’t it her responsibility as a parent to give the baby the best of everything she could, to protect him?
Emma isn’t sure she can quickly leave her baby to find a job paying £18,600 – at a time when a baby needs his mum all the time. Realistically therefore, this family is looking at a separation of at least 12 months; in his first year, baby Aymane is forced to be part of a single parent family because of this government.
Weight gain during pregnancy put a lot of pressure on Emma’s legs; now, she can’t climb the stairs of her property without a helper and is dependent on him. Emma has also seen mental health workers who believe splitting up this family puts Emma at grave risk of post-natal depression.
Emma and Driss are applying for compassionate leave to remain, for Driss to be here with the family. The solicitor they have hired believes they will be refused, despite the family staying together being what is in the best interest of the child and Emma’s health.
Update: Emma and Driss did defeat Theresa May in court. They are now happily living in the UK and Aymane is now big brother to Sami. The family is grateful for all the support and continue to be active in the fight against UK’s immigration rules forcing British citizens out of their own country.