A NIGERIAN woman who has lived in Spain for 14 years is to be extradited after her residence permit ran out, and will be forced to leave her two young daughters behind.
Margaret Mommoh, 34, from Zaragoza, is being held in a centre for illegal immigrants awaiting deportation, and is not allowed to take her two girls – aged three and 13 – with her.
Margaret's daughters were born in Zaragoza and go to school there.
Laws covering immigration stipulate that in order to renew a residence permit, the applicant has to have been paying into the social security system – as an employee or self-employed – for six months prior to renewal.
In Margaret's case, the paperwork was held up and by the time she came to renew her permit, she was heavily pregnant and had not therefore been paying into the system for the full six months prior to the application, since she had been unable to work just weeks before giving birth.
Her application was denied and she is facing immediate expulsion from Spain.
Protests and demonstrations by the Nigerian community in Zaragoza have as yet fallen on deaf ears, but the head of the Nigerian residents' association, Prince, says he has been attempting to arrange meetings with the regional government of Aragón in a bid to have the deportation order overturned.
He said the violent clashes between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria – a country Margaret fled when she was 20 – mean it would be dangerous for her to return as she is now a Catholic and very much integrated into the Spanish community.
Prince said if the ruling cannot be withdrawn, at the very least the government should allow Margaret to take her daughters with her.