Bangor University student has deportation order lifted at eleventh hour

A Sri Lankan Bangor University student has had her deportation rescinded by the UK’s Immigration minister after a last ditch meeting with her MP finally forced a U-turn.
Plaid Cymru’s Hywel Williams announced the decision late this evening that Shiromini Satkunarajah and her mother Roshina were being released immediately from Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire.
The Arfon MP had earlier raised a point of order in the Commons after “repeated” attempts to speak with Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill MP about her case failed.
The Minister subsequently agreed to speak with Mr Williams on the matter and assurances were given she would be released.
Miss Satkunarajah had been detained since last Tuesday when police in Bangor arrested her and her mother as they made a routine, fortnightly sign-on.
They were kept in separate cells for two nights before being transferred to Yarl’s Wood on Thursday night.
They were due to board a Qatar Airways flight to Sri Lanka in Manchester at 9pm tomorrow (Tuesday).
Responding to the announcement, Hywel Williams MP said: “This is the news we’ve all been hoping for. I’m so very glad that Shiromini and her mum have had this deportation order rescinded and released from the detention centre.”
“I’d like to thank everyone who backed the campaign to have the deportation order lifted. So much has been achieved in so little time.”
“The outpouring of support from across the country has been staggering; particularly from north Wales where Shiromini is highly regarded within the Bangor community.
“Since the campaign was launched on Friday I’ve received messages of support for Shiromini from across the country and I’m glad that Bangor University will now be able to welcome one of their best students back.
“Of course the campaign to right this unjust situation is not over. There is clearly something seriously wrong with the current system; an issue which I intend to pursue further.”
A social media campaign brought massive public support in the bid stop her deportation. The Bishops of London and Bangor gave their personal backing to university tutors and colleagues.
A petition, asking Home Office chief Amber Rudd MP to use her discretion and allow Miss Satkunarajah to finish her studies, garnered more than 35,000 signatures in less than 72 hours .
Miss Satkunarajah, now 20, and her mother came to the UK in 2009, fleeing war torn Sri Lanka to live with her father Satkunarajah Aiyampillai who was here on a study visa.
Before he died from bowel cancer surgery complications in 2011 Mr Aiyampillai applied for a visa extension but that application passed with him.
Miss Satkunarajah was granted leave to complete her secondary education but had been trying to secure permission to complete her BEng Hons degree in Bangor, which she began in 2014 and has only three months left to complete.
It is unclear how long she will be allowed to stay or what the exact terms of her release are, but it appears she will now be allowed to complete her studies.

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