A BRITISH mother has been left to bring up her daughter alone after her American husband was kicked out of the country – because he had cancer.
Lorraine Marx, 56, nursed partner Ralph Marx, also 56, when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
But the former Royal Navy chief petty officer watched as he was deported against medical advice The Home Office ruled he had become a burden on the taxpayer and the NHS billed him £98,000 for the treatment he had received.
The couple, who have ten-year-old daughter Alexandra, married in 2001, but Ralph had chosen not to apply for residency status.
It meant the chemical engineer was only allowed to stay in Britain for up to six months at a time.
But his cancer diagnosis and resultant stay in hospital meant he was at risk of over-staying his visitor status.
Mr Marx surrendered his passport in 2012 and applied for Family Leave to Remain, at their home in Chidham, near Chichester.
But the Home Office rejected his application and ordered he leave Britain immediately.
A judge upheld the family’s appeal in January this year, and said: “On no occasion, save the time when he was gravely ill, did he fail to comply with the terms of his visa.”
The NHS has since dropped its bill but the Home Office is appealing and Mr Marx continues to live in America. His case will be heard today. Mrs Marx said: “We’d tried so hard to be positive, and after Ralph had been so sick, it was almost too much to bear. To then receive the NHS bill made me feel like someone had thumped me in the stomach.”
Mr Marx said: “The Home Office is well aware that we are financially stable for the long term.
“The greatest tragedy, though, is in the pain and destruction of a British family at a critical time in their lives. We will never get this time back.”
A spokesman for the Home Office said: “We are appealing the tribunal’s decision because we believe it did not apply the immigration rules correctly. Our family rules have been designed to make sure that those coming to the UK to join their spouse or partner will not become a burden on the taxpayer and will be well enough supported to integrate effectively.”