Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Protest for Uni Pair Told to Leave Country

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Protest for Uni Pair Told to Leave Country

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Knight Reporter

DOZENS turned out in support of two Durham University researchers who face deportation from the UK.

Married couple Dr Ernesto Schwartz-Marin, Dr Arely Cruz-Santiago and their 11-year-old daughter Camila were given a fortnight from Saturday to leave by the Home Office.

The academics had spent 270 days in their home country Mexico on a humanitarian project - work which means the Home Office has denied them leave to remain in the country.

An online petition on calling for the "unfair" decision to be reconsidered has racked up more than 21,000 signatures in a matter of days.

And on Thursday morning, dozens gathered to show their support for the family outside the New Inn in Durham.

Jon Bryan, a regional support official with the northern region of the University and College Union (UCU), was one of those in attendance and insists the union is calling on the Home Office to reconsider their decision.

He said: "UCU are supporting the campaign to keep Ernesto and Arely in this country. The reason Ernesto has been out of the country for more days than allowed is because of the field research that he is involved in.

"In short, he is being told to leave the country for doing his job. That cannot be right.

"The importance of being 'in the field' is vital for areas of research that Ernesto is involved in. Academics are sometimes criticised for hiding away in ivory towers - that is not a criticism that can be made here.

"The freedom to con-duct academic research is at stake here, and it has been amazing to see the support in the rain for the family today, and the solidarity and pressure that is building up online.

"Let's hope the Home Office has a re-think and sees some sense, so the family can remain in this country and Ernesto and Arely can get back to doing their jobs. …

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