Skip to comments.US may expel Briton widowed by bin Laden (A FREEPER CALL TO ARMS)
Posted on 10/07/2001 2:42:39 AM PDT by MadIvan
A BRITISH mother widowed by the World Trade Centre terrorism is being threatened with deportation from America as an illegal alien.
Deena Gilbey, 37, lost her husband, Paul, in the inferno of the south tower on September 11, and with him, according to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service, she lost her right to live in the United States.
The couple, from Southend-on Sea, Essex, had two sons, Maxwell, seven, and Mason, three, who were born in America and so are American citizens.
But Mrs Gilbey's legal status in the country was as a "dependent" on her husband's work visa, and since his visa expired on his death she is automatically declared illegal.
According to the immigration officers' rulebook, the boys can stay, but she must go. Just days after her husband's death she was sent an official notice warning her that her right to live in America was to be withdrawn.
Before receiving the letter, Mrs Gilbey had rung the immigration service to check on her status, only to be told: "You have none . . . regardless of the circumstances, you are an illegal alien."
"My husband was murdered in this country, his remains are still there somewhere at Ground Zero, and now the US government is killing us all over again," said a shocked Mrs Gilbey yesterday.
On Friday, the family was dealt another astonishing blow when a probate lawyer told Mrs Gilbey that, because she has no status as either a citizen or official Green Card immigrant, the Internal Revenue Service will take 60 per cent of her husband's life insurance in tax. If she had been American, she would pay no tax on her husband's estate.
It threatens her plans to stay in the house in Chatham Township in the green belt suburbs of New Jersey which the couple bought soon after coming to America eight years ago. After the taxman has taken 60 per cent, she would be unable to pay off the mortgage.
Mrs Gilbey said: "The little boys are traumatised and now they want to take our home from us. We did things properly, so if something happened to Paul I could bring up the kids in our own home, and now it is going to be impossible to do that. What are they thinking?"
The story has outraged the local community, however, and there is hope for the family in a campaign that is demanding that Washington confers instant citizenship on Mrs Gilbey, even if that means passing a law on Capitol Hill.
Chatham's police chief George Kurzenknabe has even promised that he "will barricade the house" if immigration officials dare to approach with a deportation warrant, while the chief of the suburb's volunteer fire brigade has offered to "sit on the porch with a rifle".
"I think we can say that, in these circumstances, the American people will simply not allow anyone, including our own government, to disturb or harass Mrs Gilbey in any way.
"This is a widow who is a beloved member of our community who has not transgressed in any way at all, and if the letter of the law is wrong, it is the letter of the law that will go," said Det Sgt George Petersen.
Mr Petersen has taken on the task of guiding Mrs Gilbey through the immigration maze, escorting her to meetings with INS officers. They discovered that the problem comes down to a delay in the couple's application for Green Card status - because the immigration service office in Newark, New Jersey, lost a sheaf of papers.
"But there is no provision in the law for any safeguard in a situation like this, and technically Mrs Gilbey has become an illegal alien. So the chief went to our local senators and made clear to them that he expects them to put a bill through Congress if that is what it takes," said Mr Petersen.
Last night, as America drew the blinds for the Columbus Day holiday weekend, it was unclear whether Senators Bob Torricelli and Jon Corzine of New Jersey were writing a bill for citizenship for Mrs Gilbey and any other affected widow, or whether it was a bill simply to delay deportation and allow an "illegal alien" to stay while legal processes are exhausted. Technically, Mrs Gilbey could be arrested and held in an INS detention centre.
"The people here are absolutely wonderful, but the government is another story," said Mrs Gilbey. Her family and friends have come up with another solution: they are calling for Mr Blair, the Prime Minister, to intervene directly with President Bush.
"Mr Blair and us Brits have stepped up to the plate for America, and now it is time for the President to step up to the plate for a Brit who is in a terrible position for no fault of her own," said Mrs Gilbey's mother, Mrs Berrynice Gould, who has flown to New Jersey to support her daughter.
The Gilbeys came to New York when Mr Gilbey, who was 39, was transferred to Wall Street by the London brokerage he worked for. That company began the routine paperwork of sponsoring the Gilbeys for a Green Card, or "permanent resident alien" status.
But after a year, Mr Gilbey transferred to a new job with EuroBrokers, which meant that the Green Card application had to be restarted from scratch.
The new job took him to offices on the 84th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Centre, and he was at work when the first jet struck the north tower. He telephoned Mrs Gilbey, told her that he was safe and she urged him to "go, go, go".
He had started to evacuate the tower before the second aircraft had struck and was told by security guards that there was no threat to their offices and to return to work.
"Survivors have told me that Paul made it to the 74th floor, where the lifts were still working. There, with a friend, he helped get women and people in wheelchairs into the lifts, holding back himself and other men. He insisted that women and children get to safety first: Paul did the right thing, and this is the reward for his family."
Mrs Gilbey believes that he must have returned to his office, where he would have taken a direct hit from the second aircraft.
"We were friends since I was 14 years old, and I am lucky to have had Paul for so long. And I know he is safe and at peace where he is. But I am heartbroken for the boys and I want to be able to give them hope. They look into my face for hope, and what they see is fear because of this."
I live in AZ and local news covers the flood of illegals into the US all the time. If I recall...part of the Democratic election strategy is to encourage illegals to vote early (and often).
This poor woman must be viewed as a Conservative by the mindless bureaucrats and therefore not entitled to some slack.
I love the local law enforcement response, the INS weenies should get a clue.
This poor woman loses her husband in the attack and THIS IS HOW WE TREAT HER??!!!! shame on the ins!!! I'd tell the irs to blow it out their bazooo and more back to England!!!!
Her ombudsman townfolk need to contact Bill O'Reilly at Fox News. He's been doing stories on how some of the victims' families have been getting shafted. I would think he'd be interested in this.
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