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Mum wins time in battle to stay

PUBLISHED: 19:00 30 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:49 02 March 2010

AN Albanian-born woman facing deportation from the UK, despite being the mother of a British citizen, is today back in Ipswich after learning she has been granted a review of her case.

AN Albanian-born woman facing deportation from the UK, despite being the mother of a British citizen, is today back in Ipswich after learning she has been granted a review of her case.

Cradling baby daughter Nicole in her arms, Anna Pareshi looked the picture of happiness as she arrived back at the home of local vicar Father Haley Dossor last night.

Miss Pareshi, 32, has spent the last week locked up inside a detention centre after police officers and immigration officials swooped on her Ipswich home.

She was due to be flown back to Albania yesterday but following an immense show of support from the congregation of her local church, backed up by The Evening Star and MP Chris Mole, the home office have now agreed to a judicial review of her case.

She said: "It hasn't really sunk in that I'm out yet. So many bad things have been happening recently that it's difficult to believe that something good has happened.

"My brain is very tired. You are made to feel like you are a criminal without having done anything wrong.

"You begin to feel like you must be a really bad person. You just don't know what's going on."

Miss Pareshi arrived in England almost two years ago, when she was pregnant with Nicole. Nicole was born in Ipswich and her father is British, but he left Anna shortly after Nicole was born.

Last week a team of police officers arrived at her home to begin deportation proceedings. She was then taken to the Oakington detention centre in Cambridgeshire where she had to face the prospect of being flown back to Albania.

She said: "I'm smiling now because I'm out but I was not smiling in there. You try to smile to give yourself some relief but I'm mentally very tired.

"I try to go to sleep and I just lay there thinking and thinking. It's going round in my head all the time."

Her plight has deeply touched the congregation of St Mary Elms church in Ipswich where she is a regular worshipper.

Miss Pareshi said the cards and letter she had received had helped to keep her spirits up during this traumatic time: "I've never had so many cards and letters in my whole life.

"I've had over 100 people write to me. Even one of the guards in the detention centre said he had never seen anybody receive so much post."

Father Haley Dossor said: "Nicole is a British citizen and we've been amazed that they would want to deport a British citizen.

"We feel the best interests of the child should always be of the utmost importance and we hope the judicial review will take that in to account."

He believes Miss Pareshi's case is crucial in highlighting the flaws in Britain's asylum policies.

On one occasion, before she was taken to Oakington she received a letter in the first post saying that she would be allowed to stay in the UK and then, in the second post, she received another letter telling her that she was to be deported.

Mr Dossor said: "We know that the asylum system is in disarray and there appears to be no discrimination between the people who really should not be here and the people who will make a valuable contribution to our society.

"Anna has nursing qualifications and would be perfectly capable of earning her own living. She would not be a charge on the state.

"It's completely wrong to think about deporting someone who is just beginning to make a life for themselves.

"The whole thing has been a continuous succession of administrative bungles really."

Mr Dossor said he was unsure how long the review would take: "It could be a matter of weeks or it could be a matter of days. We just don't know."

MP Chris Mole wrote to Des Browne, the immigration minister to ask him to take another look at the case.

Mr Mole said: "I'm very glad Miss Pareshi's lawyers have been able to secure a judicial review.

"Clearly, there was a lot of concern from people in the area and I hope that the judicial review will help to clear things up."

Miss Pareshi will be housed in temporary accommodation in Ipswich while the review takes place.

She said: "I hope now to make a life for myself here. That is what I would like more than anything, but at the moment we just have to wait. I can't feel really happy until I know if I am allowed to stay."

What do you think of Britain's asylum system? Do you think it is right to deport Anna and her baby? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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