Deported woman's UK family launch campaign for her return

AP News
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Posted: Feb 27, 2017 9:47 AM

LONDON (AP) — The British family of a grandmother deported to Singapore launched a campaign on Monday to raise money to fund a legal fight for her return.

Irene Clennell, 53, was removed from Britain on Sunday after being sent to an immigration detention center.

"They deported her with £12 ($15) in her pocket and no change of clothes," her husband, John, told The Associated Press.

Britain's Home Office said people "with no legal right to remain in the country" were expected to leave.

"All applications for leave to remain in the U.K. are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules," a statement said.

Clennell arrived in Britain in 1988, married two years later and has adult children and at least one grandchild. She and her husband lived in the north of the country.

She spent periods in Singapore throughout her marriage, reportedly to care for elderly parents.

Her sister-in-law, Angela Clennell, said the GoFundMe campaign aims to raise £30,000 ($37,000).

"We will continue to fight as hard as we can to bring Irene home where she belongs," she said.

Clennell's husband has serious health problems following bypass surgery and Irene is his sole caretaker, she said, adding: "Without her to look after him, we're all worried for him."

The British government's spousal visa system requires that a foreign spouse spend substantial uninterrupted time in the country, and that the British spouse earn at least £18,600 ($23,000) a year.

Clennell had been granted indefinite leave to remain in Britain in 1992, but this lapsed after she stayed outside the country for more than two years. She returned to Britain as a visitor in 2013, and that year applied to remain in the country as a spouse; her application was turned down, though the reason is unknown.

She has had no legal basis for remaining in Britain since July 2014 when her appeal rights were exhausted.