TROY (WWJ) – An Albanian mother of three living in metro Detroit has defied a federal immigration order to board a plane and return to her homeland.
Cile Precetaj was scheduled for deportation Tuesday morning after receiving a deportation notice only 24-hours earlier. Instead, the 40-year-old Troy woman decided to stay home, saying if immigration officers wanted her out of the country, they would have to come get her, according to her husband Pjetero Gojcevic.
U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement officials said in a statement they are reviewing Precetaj’s case and deportation “is not imminent.”
Gojcevic said his wife earned the right to live in the U.S. despite immigrating here illegally 13 years ago to escape an abusive fiancé and violent culture.
Andrew Johnson, Precetaj’s attorney, told WWJ’s Jon Hewett he’s glad immigration officials are taking another look at his client’s case, but he thinks it should have happened much sooner.
“It’s good that they are taking a good look, but this is purely based on media pressure. This should have never gotten to this point. I still don’t understand why she’s in an ankle bracelet. She’s not going anywhere, she has to take a 4-, 6- and 11-year-old to school every day and she’s always followed everything immigration has told her to do,” he said.
Precetaj entered the U.S. illegally via Canada in 2000 and sought asylum. Despite her appeal, an immigration judge denied her request in a decision that was reaffirmed by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2008.
Still, Precetaj made a life for herself in America with the fear of deportation on her mind. She held down steady employment, got married and had three children. She was also kept under supervision by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ordered to wear a tether and report to officials monthly.
Johnson said he’s baffled by the case, especially considering his client has been a “model citizen.”
“We’ve been asking them to review the case and we have filed documents with the Chief Counsel’s Office in Detroit and with another government entity called the Office of Immigration Litigation, we’ve also filed documents with Detroit requesting this case be closed. It has been completely ignored. Well, I shouldn’t say ignored, it was denied,” he said.
Precetaj and Gojcevic said they were blindsided when she received the deportation notice. Gojcevic told the Detroit Free Press his wife was planning to take the children back to Albania because he can’t afford to care for them on his own.
“Let her stay with her children and raise them in a country that they know,” he said.