A woman, who had lived in the United States for more than 18 years, was reportedly deported to Albania and her family claims they were not given a chance to meet her before her departure.
Cile Precetaj, 46, is an undocumented Albanian immigrant. She lived in Sterling Heights, Michigan along with her husband and three U.S. citizen children.
Pete Gojcaj, her husband, claimed he and his three children were not given a chance to say goodbye to Precetaj and he only learned of her deportation once she called him from Germany and said she was on her way to Albania along with two ICE agents.
“My kids are devastated. They can't stop crying. My children are traumatized,” he said.
Precetaj doesn’t have a criminal record. She was arrested in Apr. 2018 when she went for a routine monthly visit to an ICE office in Detroit.
The woman was then detained for three weeks along with about 25 other mothers in the Calhoun county jail in Battle Creek, Michigan before being deported. She was seeking asylum since 2000. In 2015, a federal immigration judge ordered her deportation from the United States.
However, she was spared after she filed an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The 6th Circuit denied her stay but she has another appeal pending.
Michael Lacey, Precetaj’s attorney, said, “It's a tragic situation and it doesn't have to be like this. She was not even allowed to make a phone call to say goodbye to her three children. They are picking the lowest hanging fruit. It is easier to arrest a mother; it is a little harder to go after a criminal who might be carrying a gun.”
On the other hand, ICE spokesperson Khallid Walls said her family was informed before she was removed from the country.
“The family was notified of her impending departure several days prior to her removal and turned over her luggage and other personal items to ICE.
ICE also released a statement regarding the case.
“In June 2005, Ms. Precetaj, an unlawfully present national of Albania, was ordered removed from the United States by a federal immigration judge. For more than a decade between 2007 and 2018, ICE allowed Ms. Precetaj to remain free from custody while exhausting all of her legal options for relief,” the statement read.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Edgard Garrido