Wednesday 22 November 2017

Irish woman and Brazilian husband ‘in limbo’ since deportation over false accusation of 'sham marriage'

Harriett Bruce and Kleber Medeiros on their wedding day
Harriett Bruce and Kleber Medeiros on their wedding day
Daire Courtney

Daire Courtney

A Galway woman has called for her Brazilian husband’s deportation order to be reversed, following the HSE's decision that their desire to marry was genuine.

Kleber Medeiros was deported in July pending the completion of a HSE investigation into his application for a marriage license. A member of the public had objected to his application last year on the basis that the application was a 'sham' for convenience.

“The objection was made completely out of malice; the stuff in the objection was completely ridiculous,” Harriett Bruce, Medeiros’ wife, told

“It was made anonymously and we weren’t told about it until weeks after.”

Mr Medeiros came to Ballinasloe from Sao Paolo in 2012 and began seeing Harriett Bruce a year later.

They got engaged last August and set a wedding date for December.

Harriett with her mum
Harriett with her mum

Just three weeks before their wedding, they received a notice that a member of the public had objected to the marriage and that the HSE would need to investigate before granting them a license.

Harriett and Kleber had people flying in for their wedding and decided to go ahead with the religious ceremony and get the license when the case cleared.

Despite the fact that they immediately provided the HSE with documents including utility bills to prove that they had been living together, the HSE took almost a year to decide that their desire to marry was not a sham.

In the meantime, Mr Medeiros was deported and the couple have been “completely in limbo” ever since.

Despite the fact that the HSE have now ruled in favour of the couple and allowed their marriage to continue, the deportation order still stands.

In order to get a marriage license, they will have to come together to the registry office in Ireland, but they cannot do that until the order is reversed by the Irish National Immigration Services.

“The lack of communication between the departments is disgraceful,” Harriett told

“If the objection had been dealt with properly in the first place none of this would have happened. Now that the HSE have finally dealt with it, INIS won’t reverse the order.”

Harriett flew to Brazil to join her husband on September 6, but is flying home on November 6. Her mother is in remission from cancer.

“He’s been onto me every day to check my email and see if he’ll be able to come home soon. It’s heartbreaking. I’m being pulled between my mam at home and my husband here.”

“We had planned to go to America after the honeymoon, and then to Brazil. After we got back, we were going to start a family,” Harriett told

“I’m a hairdresser and beautician and my intention was to extend my business and employ people, and that’s all been put on hold.”

“We’re after building our life together; we had a good lifestyle and all the comfort that we wanted and he was sent back to Brazil with the clothes on his back.”

Kleber and Harriett received an 11-page document from the Irish National Immigration Services highlighting their reasons for recommending deportation, which cited the ‘economic wellbeing’ of Ireland as a reason for his deportation, noting that he was ‘unskilled’ and therefore that his employment prospects were ‘limited’.

“Kleber has been working as a meat-boner in Leafy Meats since early 2013. He’s very skilled at that job, he works more than 45 hours a week and pays taxes which supports the economy. The idea that his living here was harming the economy is just ridiculous,” Bruce told

Kleber and Harriett have appealed the INIS decision, but they have no idea when the case will be processed.

“We got a notification that our case is one of many and they don’t know when it will be decided on.”

Harriett has had support from local TDs and senators and is hoping that the Minister will take note of her case when she returns home in November so that they do not have to rely on the slow appeals process.

Since the new legislation passed in 2015 to combat sham marriages between Irish people and foreign nationals seeking residency, 103 objections have been made to proposed marriages on that basis. Of those, only 25 of the marriages have been approved.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other people in our situation,” Harriett said.

The HSE have been contacted by for comment.

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