In August, Unis Resist Border Controls told you about the case of Adriana Ortega-Zeifert, a talented PhD researcher and survivor of domestic violence who is fighting to keep her family in the UK.
On the 8th August 2019, Adriana’s three daughters were forced by family court to leave the UK and to visit their father, and ex-partner of Adriana who abused her for years while she was a PhD student. However, Adriana’s daughters protested and refused to board the AeroMexico flight headed to Mexico City.
While it is great news that Adriana and her children have been reunited, the fight to keep her family together is far from over.
The family courts still maintain that her daughters must go back to Mexico. However, the family court’s decision to force Adriana’s daughters to return to Mexico harm their existing family application for leave to remain in the UK. Adriana’s children are adamant that they do not want to return to Mexico. Compounding matters is that family courts have ruled that if Adriana’s daughters fail to return to Mexico by Wednesday 2nd October 2019, Adriana may face a jail sentence.
As Adriana’s further comments,
“It is both outrageous and disappointing that I could face imprisonment just because my children refused to board a plane to visit their father because they are scared to be forced to live with him. Family court is essentially forcing my daughters to return to Mexico and not granting them the right to apply for further leave to remain, which they are entitled to as they are approaching the 10 years mark of living in the UK.”
Adriana’s case highlights the intersection of the hostile environment policy and how it particularly affects migrant women who flee domestic abuse. As Sister’s Uncut states,
“The state cuts off support for people with different kinds of immigration status; this is called ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’. For migrant women who experience domestic violence, this is life-threatening. This is because about half the funding for refuges comes from housing benefits, which migrant women are usually barred from. As a result, migrant women and their children have been turned away from domestic violence shelters. In 2017, just 7% of women with No Recourse to Public Funds found space in a shelter when leaving domestic violence. This shows the racism at the heart of the criminal justice and immigration systems, which puts deportation before domestic violence services. “
Adriana and her daughters are putting in another fresh claim application for indefinite leave to remain before the 2nd October 2019 deadline to stop their deportation back to Mexico.
What you can do to help Adriana
At this critical stage in Adriana’s case, there are many things that one can do to support her and her daughters fight to remain in the UK. Here are a few things that you can do:
1. Donate to her JustGiving fundraiser for to help pay for her legal costs. Adriana needs to raise £10,000 for her & her daughter’s fresh claim application and their solicitor’s fees before the 2nd October 2019. Any funds you can donate at this time would be much appreciated. The link to Adriana’s JustGiving fundraiser can be accessed here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/adriana-ortega-zeifert
2. Join the over 100 academics, students & UCU members who have endorsed a statement from URBC demanding that the Home Office give Adriana & her daughters leave to remain and for the University of Manchester to allow Adriana back on her PhD course. You can sign and share the statment here:
3. Join 2,000 supporters who have signed a Change.org petition demanding the Home Office not deport Adriana & her daughters back to Mexico:
If you do all three steps, this will greatly ensure that Adriana and her daughters will be able to fight to remain in the UK. Let’s continue to support them at this crucial period to stop them from being deported back to Mexico.