A DEVASTATED couple have been told one of them faces being deported after a 17-year long battle with the Home Office.

Sandra Plitt met husband Brandon online in 2002 and despite a 20-year age gap and Sandra being in Colchester and Brandon in Ohio, America, the pair hit it off.

After eventually meeting, they fell in love and got married at Colchester Register Office in 2003.

Brandon was forced back to the States a few weeks later, but was eventually able to obtain a spousal visa which lasted two years.

Since then, despite numerous legal challenges and applications to the Home Office, Brandon has never been able to obtain indefinite leave to remain.

The couple, who live in Shrub End, have now received a letter saying he is facing deportation in the next few days.

When Brandon was first forced back to the USA, an immigration officer based at Harwich International Port said he would help the couple, but they were never able to get in contact with him.

Sandra, 67, said: “We tried to speak to him every week, then every two weeks and every month.

“We could never get hold of him.

“Now we have received the letter and we are at our wits’ end.

“We would really like to know why the Government don’t want him here.”

Sandra suffers from a variety of health issues and fears for her future if Brandon is forced to leave.

“He is my carer, friend, soulmate and he is there any time anything happens to me,” she said.

“I am very frightened indeed and if I lose my darling husband I will not be alive for very much longer.”

Brandon, 47, has been unable to work because of his immigration status and has never claimed any benefits or been in trouble with the police.

Since he arrived, he has been made to regularly report to Colchester police station and two years ago he was met there by immigration officials who arrested him and took him to Campsfield House detention centre in Oxfordshire.

Lawyers intervened and he was allowed back home ten days later.

The couple estimate they have spent between £15,000 and £20,000 on legal fees and application costs to try and secure Brandon’s future.

Brandon said a difficult relationship with members of his family means he does not want to return to Ohio.

“It was not a great experience being in there,” Brandon said. “This is my home, here with my wife.

“It seems to me they are trying to get as many people out of the country as possible.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “Mr Plitt overstayed his visa by over nine years before applying for leave to remain.

“This was refused and the refusal decision has been upheld by an immigration judge.”