UK
19/03/2018 20:30 GMT

Deportation Reprieve For Mexican Academics At Durham University

The Home Office has reversed a decision to deport two Durham University academics after a public outcry.

Dr Ernesto Schwartz-Marin and Dr Arely Cruz-Santiago had been issued a 14-day notice to leave the UK following an apparent breach in their Tier 2 visa for humanitarian work in Mexico.

The couple had lived in the UK for more than 10 years with their 11-year-old daughter Camilla.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Following a review of the initial decision, Mr Schwartz-Marin has been informed that the applications of him and his wife for indefinite leave to remain have been approved.”

An online petition signed by more than 70,000 people to reverse the “unfair” decision garnered large-scale public attention.

The online petition read: “Their case is very distressing on a personal level, but it also sets a dangerous precedent for other non-UK academics working in universities and doing humanitarian fieldwork abroad.”

The couple carried out humanitarian work in Mexico in 2014-15 building a DNA database to help locate victims who had gone missing because of drug cartel violence.

This led the Home Office to issue Mr Schwartz-Marin and his family with a deportation notice.

Jolyon Maugham QC launched a legal challenge against the decision.

More than £22,500 has been raised for the legal costs at www.crowdjustice.com/case/if-you-build-your-life-with-us/

The barrister tweeted that the U-turn was “a huge win for all who support this campaign”.