It fills me with absolute horror that Florence Mhango, and her 10 year old daughter Precious, might be deported imminently. Precious has been in this country since she was 3 years old and came in with her mother and father who was studying here. Because of violence from her husband, Florence fled with her daughter for her own safety.
They sought asylum in this country on the grounds that if they were forced to return to Malawi, Precious would be taken away from her mother and handed over to her father's family and, basically, could never her mother again. I don't know how we as a country can possibly allow such a cruel and awful thing to happen. It's basically handing people over to be tortured. As a mother of a little girl who's close to Precious' age, I can't imagine anything worse than being separated from my daughter - and I'm fairly certain she feels the same way.
I am really annoyed that pressure is being put on Florence and Precious to leave the country before their final appeal is heard.
However, the Government does have another option - the Home Secretary has discretion to allow people to stay in this country outside the immigration rules and I think she should do so in this instance. Florence and Precious have the support of Scottish Government and Church leaders as well as their local community. It's within Theresa May's power to end their ordeal and ensure they have a safe future in this country. I hope that she takes it.
I've written to her to ask her to use her discretionary powers to let them stay. Any even rudimentary assessment of Precious' welfare would show that her future life chances would be severely compromised if she was sent back to Malawi.
This is the second time in as many months that a woman and child who have been victims of domestic violence have hit the headlines in Scotland. In May, Sehar Shahbaz and her young daughter were sent back to Pakistan to an uncertain future.
No compassionate and fair country should treat vulnerable women and children like this. However, putting pressure on the Government can help - it did with Rene Mukarbiwa and Janipher Maseko. So please write to Theresa May to stay. You can find more information on Anne McLaughlin MSP's blog. She's fought hard for Florence and Precious and I can only imagine how stressed and worried she must be feeling at the moment.