Bristol

Deportation-threatened grandmother hands in Downing Street petition

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Media captionThe family of a South African woman fight against her deportation.

The family of an elderly South African woman living illegally in Britain has handed in a petition to Downing Street against her deportation.

Irene Nel, 73, came to visit family in Bristol on a tourist visa in 2012, but two weeks into her stay she fell ill and was diagnosed with kidney failure.

In South Africa the welfare system does not offer dialysis to over 60s, so her family says she will die if deported.

An independent tribunal has upheld the Home Office's decision to deport her.

'Our responsibility'

A Home Office spokesman said: "All cases are carefully considered on their individual merits, in line with the immigration rules and based on the evidence provided by the applicant.

"The decision made on this case has been upheld by an independent tribunal which considered the full range of evidence presented."

Irene Nel and her daughter, Desree Taylor, appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire programme ahead of the petition being handed in on Friday.

Mrs Nel said: "I'll be all by myself in South Africa and all while I'm not well.

"I'm on dialysis three times a week, I don't find it nice but they're very good to me, they're absolutely fantastic and that makes me live longer."

Image caption More than 100,000 have signed a petition against Mrs Nel's deportation

She added that she arrived in the UK with a return ticket and never thought she would stay.

Initially Mrs Nel's medical insurance paid for her treatment, but stopped.

Mrs Nel fell ill two weeks into her stay in the UK and has been cared for by the NHS for the past three and half years.

Her daughter said: "She's my mum - she has three children. We've all worked here, I've been here for 17 years.

"I classify myself as British, we're taxpayers, we've paid into the government and it's our responsibility to look after our parents.

"You're also facing the humane thing of sending her back.

"Imagine anyone putting their mum on a plane and saying 'bye bye' and two weeks away she passes away - because that's exactly what will happen."

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