"I'll be home for Christmas" - great news for Ballinasloe couple as Kleber arrives back in Ireland in time for Christmas
Kleber Medeiros arrived into Dublin airport on Tuesday night at the end of a two-day journey from Brazil, to his overjoyed wife, Harriet Bruce.
The Ballinasloe couple had been parted in July when Kleber was deported, following an allegation that their wedding had been a so-called marriage of convenience.
The HSE agreed days after he had been deported that their marriage was genuine. The couple hugged, kissed and held each other’s faces, between laughs and tears. Kleber said he had had “no problem” getting through immigration, that he was “very, very tired” but “very, very happy to be back with my wife”.
Ms Bruce campaigned since July to have Kleber returned, lobbying TDs, Senators and through the print, broadcast and social media, arguing her husband had been deported in error and that their Constitutional rights to family and privacy had been infringed.
The couple had married on December 10th, 2015, in St Michael’s Catholic Church in Ballinasloe. An objection had been lodged with the HSE alleging their wedding was marriage of convenience.
However, given that they had been a couple for several years and had a house together, and that he was working full time, they believed the objection would not be upheld and they proceeded with the religious ceremony.
Mr Medeiros was, however, deported in early July. On July 22nd a letter from the HSE arrived at the couple’s home, telling them the investigation into the objection to their marriage had been completed, there was “not sufficient evidence to uphold the objection . . . and no impediment to the marriage exists”.
The case was reported first in The Irish Times in October, following which the campaign gathered momentum.
In November Ms Bruce travelled to Dublin to meet Oireachtas members. She also provided evidence that his job as a specialist meat deboner remained open. On December 12th she received the news that the deportation order had been rescinded and he would be permitted to work.
She was “excited and over the moon” to have him back, she said on Tuesday night.
“It was a long road. I didn’t know if it was going to happen this quick. We had a lot of people contacting us with our campaign who had been going through the same situation as us for a number of years.”
However the couple had “a lot of good people” supporting them, including Senators Maura Hopkins (Fine Gael) and Trevor Ó Clochartaigh (Sinn Féin), and “we weren’t going to stop until we got justice,” she said.
Mr Medeiros said the journey, from Sao Paolo to Amsterdam and onto Dublin “was very hard. It was two days for the flights.
“Now is OK. I go home. Yes, now she wreck my head all the time,” he said pulling her to him and laughing.
He said: “All my life is here. [When I was deported] I go straight to Brazil. It was very difficult. I was crying. Life change very quick.”
He was in contact with her from Brazil “every day with Facebook messenger. She help me so much, a lot. I say thank you everybody for helping me, for support, it was very, very important.”
Asked what he was looking forward to, he said: “I think to get time with my wife [and]my dogs, Simba and Bu.”
Ms Bruce said she was looking forward to a new year. “We can start rebuilding our lives and look forward to 2017. The nightmare is over.”
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