Leeds family faces being ripped apart after devastating Home Office decision could deport mum-of-two and daughter

A Leeds family is facing being ripped apart after a devastating Home Office decision could lead to an American mum-of-two and her daughter being deported from the UK.

Thursday, 12th August 2021, 4:45 am

Katelyn Nelson, 32, came to Leeds from California two years ago with her 12-year-old daughter Mendy to live with her husband Simon Nelson, 32.

The family were due to return to the US within the six month passport window allowed for travel.

However, due to a combination of the birth of their son Jack - now 16 months old - the Covid pandemic and a delay in Simon's Green Card visa application, Katelyn and Mendy remained in the UK and applied for residency.

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Katelyn, Simon, Mendy and Jack face being split up

Jack was due in April 2020 and Simon's visa was due to conclude between April and May.

However, the family said the Covid pandemic stopped his visa from concluding.

They spent thousands of pounds on a legal team who ensured them the process would be simple and go through without issue.

Katelyn started the application for residency for herself and her daughter in August 2020.

Katelyn, Simon, Mendy and Jack face being split up

However, two months ago, the family was given the devastating decision that the Home Office had rejected their applications.

The Home Office has now told Katelyn she would be deported with Mendy, but no mention of Jack, who is a UK citizen and can't legally relocate to the US.

This would split up their family - with Simon still awaiting a decision on his visa application, a stipulation would stop him from travelling.

A Home Office spokesperson has now told the YEP the application had been "considered in accordance with the immigration rules" and they were "satisfied" their decision was correct.

Katelyn and her family are now forced to go through an appeals process to keep them together.

Mendy has even written a letter to the Home Office in support of their application - begging to stay in the UK with the 'only Dad she has ever had'.

Katelyn has set up a petition - which has almost reached 2,000 signatures - to ask the Home Office to reconsider their decision.

Speaking to the YEP, she said: "We had our son over here, my daughter is in school here, everything has just been turned upside down.

"I work in law enforcement in the US, the last thing we wanted to do was to be over here illegally.

"We have been in limbo and waiting for Simon's green card application, now we don't know what will happen.

"Mendy is more settled as a complete family since we've been living together for 2 years.

"We don't know what it could do to her if our family situation is changed once again for an indeterminate amount of time.

"We met the requirements, but because Simon's US visa was running in the background we were denied.

"But we can't cancel Simon's visa because if mine gets refused again, Simon could be here for years.

"At this point we don't care what country we live is, we just want to be together.

"For whatever reason, the UK and US can't just let let us live together, even though we've done everything the legal and correct way at both ends.

"We are really worried."

Katelyn said her family had been "transparent" with the Home Office throughout their application.

She said the pandemic had delayed many aspects of their application.

Katelyn told how her daughter Mendy has settled in the UK and made many new friends at school.

She added: "Mendy wrote a letter to the Home Office as part of our application.

"She doesn't want to be split up from the only man who has been a father figure for her.

"She has never met her biological dad and Simon has been amazing with her.

"To go home without Simon and Jack would be devastating."

Katelyn said she had been astonished by the support strangers had shown her family.

She added: "I don't know many people in the UK so I honestly can't believe it.

"We are so grateful to everyone."

The family are now launching an appeal process and will remain in the UK until its conclusion.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The application has been considered in accordance with the immigration rules. We have reviewed the decision and we are satisfied it is correct.”