Deported woman reunited with husband in Chicago

August 8, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Tony Wasilewski was separated for his wife, Janina Wasilewski, and son in 2007 after she lost a legal fight for citizenship and was deported to Poland.

"My American dream was broken four years ago when my family was separated by deportation. Most families are not as lucky as mine -- they are separated and never reunited," Tony Wasilewski said.

Tony and Janina came to the U.S. separately in 1989. They took different paths toward citizenship. Janina sought amnesty for activism against then communist authorities in Poland. By the time her case was reviewed, Poland was a democracy and her request for asylum was denied. She was deported and they decided to send their American-born son to Poland with his mother.

"I just want to say thank you. I am very happy I am here right now. I can spend time with my husband and my son here in USA," Janina Wasilewski said.

Congressmen Mike Quigley and Luis Gutierrez had lobbied for her return.

"What we do is fight them one by one by one. But today we have had success, regardless of the country they come from," Gutierrez said.

"What we need to do is change the procedure that forces a family to leave to get their visa and then face a 10 year bar to coming back," Royal Berg, Wasilewski attorney, said.

Janina can apply for U.S. citizenship in three years. Her 10-year-old son is an American by birth.

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