Plaid Cymru MPs have launched a civil rights campaign following extensive public reaction to the plight of two young women from Patagonia , Argentina refused entry to the UK at Heathrow airport.
Elfyn Llwyd MP and Hywel Williams MP first raised the plight of Evelyn Calcabrini at Welsh Questions in the House of Commons a few weeks ago.
The Welsh-Argentina Society will now manage a fund for the two young women and hopes that enough money will be available to buy flights over to the UK in time for the National Eisteddfod which is this year held in Bala.
Any additional funds raised will be used to sponsor Patagonians wishing to visit Wales and work on the language over the next few years.
Plaid’s Westminster leader Elfyn Llwyd MP said:
“Many people have now become acquainted with the case of Evelyn Calcabrini. What this young lady was subjected to as an invited visitor to Wales is shocking.
“Evelyn was detained for several hours in Heathrow, and eventually turned away by border authorities and not given a reason as to why she was being deported.
“I challenged the Immigration Minister on this and the reason I eventually received was that Evelyn was rejected was because she had no job to go to in Patagonia .
This is categorically untrue and in similar circumstances, Shirley Edwards was also recently despatched.
“Even if this was true, does this now mean that every single young person, student or otherwise, from outside of the EU should be refused entry? Clearly these excuses are invalid and ridiculous.
Elfyn Llwyd added:
“Since first raising this issue, I have received a huge response from constituents and internationally. This is an important issue of basic civil rights.
“I am going to campaign vigorously to ensure that this injustice is put right and that visitors to Wales are never treated like criminals.
“I would also like to see Evelyn and Shirley warmly welcomed back which is something that this fund will hopefully make a reality.
“I will continue to champion this cause in the Commons and with the Home Office as I believe that this is an important issue of principle with international implications.”
Elfyn Llwyd MP will also discuss the broader issue on Channel 4’s ‘Political Slot’ to be broadcast at 19.55pm this Thursday 9th July 2009.