TROY (WWJ/AP) – An Albanian mother of three living in metro Detroit who faced deportation says she’s allowed to stay the United States for at least another year.
Immigration officials on Friday granted a “stay of removal” for Cile Precetaj, of Troy, who earlier this week was ordered to board a plane to return to Albania. She also had a tether removed.
“I am very happy. This is good news,” an emotional Precetaj told the Detroit Free Press. “All I want is to stay here and raise my kids and have a normal life.”
Her attorney, Andrew Johnson, said the stay of removal means Precetaj will have to file a request to stay in the country every year. Federal officials say Precetaj will be granted a stay of removal so long as she obeys all local, state and federal laws.
“This is, in essence, what we’ve been asking for,” Johnson told the Freep. “I’m happy that we got this done. I’m happy with the end result, but it should have never come to this.”
Precetaj initially received a federal immigration order on Monday that said she would have to board a plane 24 hours later and return to her homeland. Instead of showing up at Detroit Metro Airport Tuesday morning, Precetaj defied the order and stayed home, saying if immigration officers wanted her out of the country, they would have to come get her.
Precetaj’s husband, Pjetero Gojcevic, argued that his wife had earned the right to live in the U.S. despite immigrating here illegally 13 years ago to escape an abusive fiancé and violent culture.
Precetaj entered the U.S. 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.
Precetaj and Gojcevic said they were blindsided when she received the deportation notice. Gojcevic told reporters 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.
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