A Briton who lost her husband in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York is fighting US authorities who want her to leave the country, it was reported today.
Deena Gilbey’s husband, Paul, described as a hero because he helped evacuate his colleagues and stayed behind to rescue others, was a currency broker with EuroBrokers on the 84th floor of the South Tower.
‘‘Two days after he was killed, they coldly told me, ‘Your husband has expired and so has your right to stay in this country,’’’ Mrs Gilbey told the New York Post.
‘‘When I asked, ‘What will happen to me?’ They responded, ‘You will be arrested and deported.’’’
The couple had lived in the US for 10 years, and their children, Mason, seven, and Max, four, were both born there.
The couple had applied for green cards in 1994 but had to start the process again from scratch after her husband changed jobs.
Mrs Gilbey has tried to stay under the USA Patriot Act.
The law was introduced after September 11 and allows foreign spouses and children of attack victims to apply for green cards.
But Immigration and Naturalisation Service officials said she did not qualify because her paperwork had not reached a certain level of the process.
Mrs Gilbey said the INS supervisor told her that if she was granted the green card, it would set a dangerous precedent.
Today, she is living on her late husband’s life insurance and praying the US media and public comes to her aid.
The INS’ lack of empathy has been startling, she told the newspaper.
‘‘It seems like nothing to them, but they have the power to make things right, to tell me, ‘This is your home, where your children were born and where your husband is buried,’ but they have not,’’ she said.
‘‘Who will stand by my side in this country and do the right thing?’’ she asked. ‘‘This is our home.’’