Adriana Ortega-Zeifert is an international student from Mexico who came to the United Kingdom in April 2010 to pursue a PhD in Chemical Engineering & Analytical Science at the University of Manchester, having been awarded a scholarship to pursue her groundbreaking research.
However, Adriana was forced to take an interruption from her PhD studies as a result of mental health issues brought on by years of sexual, emotional, financial abuse and parental alienation at the hands of her ex-partner while he was also a PhD student at the University of Manchester.
Because of her severe depression, PTSD and the side effects of antidepressant sertraline, Adriana failed to complete sending her second extension visa application to the Home Office. As a result, the University of Manchester withdrew her from her PhD studies.
Compounding matters, Adriana has been instructed by family court that her three daughters must return to Mexico to visit her ex-partner. As a result of the hostile environment policy, if the children are forced to visit their father, it will make it very difficult for them to return to the UK. Family courts have ruled that if her daughters fail to return to Mexico before the end of Thursday 8th August 2019, Adriana could be imprisoned in the UK. Adriana’s three daughters are exceptional and academically gifted students who have given so much to the Manchester community. The children want to remain in Manchester with their mother and visit Mexico once they have permission to stay in UK. If they are forced to return to Mexico, there is no way that they would be allowed to re-enter the UK to be with their mother.
Adriana is a talented academic and independent woman who is being stifled by bureaucratic laws in addition to the hostile environment policy that creates real barriers for migrant women to gain justice. As she comments:
“The British government criticises other countries who institute misogynistic policies and laws. Yet, when it comes to the situation of migrant women who have endured sexual, emotional, psychological, and financial abuse inside the UK, our struggle is trivialised and we are criminalised for speaking out and stopping violence at the hands of our ex-partners. The court system sides with abusers instead of doing a proper investigation and giving support to survivors of violence like myself. It is emotionally hurtful, stressful and denigrating to be re-victimised by the family courts and the Home Office. All I want is safety for myself and my three children. I want to be able to finish my groundbreaking academic work and use this research to help others.”
What you can do to support Adriana:
Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) urges supporters to sign and share our statement to be sent to Prime Minster Boris Johnson, Secretary of State Priti Patel, Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, Shadow Secretary of State Diane Abbott and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Manchester, Dame Nancy Rothwell that you can access here.
We also urge you to sign Adriana’s Change.org petition.
Let’s use our collective voices to ensure that Adriana and three daughters are able to remain in the UK so that they can live in safety. We want to see Adriana be able to finish her important and much needed research.