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Friday, 26 July, 2002, 08:09 GMT 09:09 UK
Widow wins fight to stay in US
Deena and Paul Gilbey
Deena Gilbey with her late husband Paul
A British woman widowed in the 11 September attacks on New York has won her fight to stay in America with her two children.

Deena Gilbey's husband Paul died in the World Trade Center where he worked as a bond trader on the 84th floor.


This long, painful fight has shown me how decent and kind people can be

Deena Gilbey
His death meant that Mrs Gilbey, originally from Essex, faced being deported on the anniversary of the attacks.

This was despite the fact that her two sons had been born in America and the couple had lived there for about 10 years.

But the 39-year-old, who lives in New Jersey, has now been granted a green card by immigration authorities allowing her to stay and work in the US.

She has welcomed the decision and thanked everyone in the UK for their support.

Speaking on the Radio 4 Today programme, Mrs Gilbey said it was "fabulous" news.
Deena and her son Mason
Both sons were born in the US

She said: "I couldn't mentally get my head round the thought that I would actually have to physically leave their home.

"I was so frozen here that they would have had to come and arrest me, and physically remove me from this house."

She said there are about 150 other foreign nationals trying to sort out immigration issues arising from the 11 September attacks.

Mrs Gilbey added: "I do hope that because this was such an unprecedented attack, for anybody that lost someone, whatever country they come from, their immigration issues will be resolved."

Celebratory trip

Earlier, she said: "Nothing can bring my husband back or give my boys their father again, but this long, painful fight has shown me how decent and kind people can be when they see something is wrong," she said.

She plans to celebrate the decision with a trip to DisneyWorld with her two children, Mason, seven, and Max, four.

"Paul loved it there when he was young and we had planned to take the kids to it for the first time last October.
Paul Gilbey
Paul Gilbey: "Hero"

"I hope Paul is looking down and seeing that now, at last, we can begin to have a little fun after such a terrible time."

Her husband was described as a hero after he helped evacuate his colleagues from their office and stayed behind to help others escape from the building.

The couple had applied for green cards in 1994 but had to start the process over again when her husband changed jobs.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair as well as New York senator and former first lady Hillary Clinton were those who backed her campaign.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Emma Simpson reports from New York
"They denied ever threatening to deport her"
Deena Gilbey
"I was so frozen here that they would have had to come and arrest me"

Click here to go to Essex
See also:

29 May 02 | England
09 Oct 01 | England
01 Oct 02 | England
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