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Girl from Poland will get to stay
Polish Girl Web
Ewelina Bledniak
Her family has worked for months with immigration organizations and legal assistance, but in the end Ewelina Bledniak still is going back to Poland — for vacation.

The 11-year-old, who faced deportation last month, will leave for Poland on Aug. 23 with her parents, both legal U.S. residents. When she returns two weeks later, she can legally apply for her green card, said the family’s attorney Maria Odom.

To re-enter the country legally, Bledniak faced the prospect of having to live in Poland for a year. But to avoid separating the girl from her parents and school, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services expedited the matter.

“It has been pretty unprecedented,” Odom said. “I think it was just the case that appealed to the sensitivities of the government. I think they were more willing to help her because she’s a child.”

A native of Poland, Bledniak has lived in Forsyth County for nine years. Her parents, Hubert and Agnes Bledniak, have attained permanent U.S. resident status since moving here.

They thought the same was true for their daughter, though there has been much confusion regarding Ewelina Bledniak’s original entry into the U.S. and paperwork filed on her behalf.

In 2007, immigrations services denied her application for permanent residency.

Hubert Bledniak, owner of Tile South manufacturing company, said he is thankful for the efforts of everyone in the community, including U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who “helped us a lot.”

“We’re all going together and we are all coming back together, so that’s what we were hoping for,” he said. “That’s what we got and we’re happy about the situation and the result.

Ewelina Bledniak, who previously attended Daves Creek Elementary, will start school Monday at South Forsyth Middle.

Her father said leaving for two weeks at the beginning of the school year may not be ideal for the sixth-grader, but “she’s pretty smart.”

“We’re going to take some materials with us so she won’t miss anything,” he said. “My wife already spoke to the principal at the school and they ... understand our situation.”

Hubert Bledniak said his daughter is also excited to return to classes at North Atlanta Dance Academy.

Kitty Garrison, co-owner of the academy, said she was thrilled to have her back.

“I was delighted and surprised, but I’m impressed that the issue was able to be handled,” she said. “I didn’t really expect that.”

Odom said the re-entry permit will allow the girl to return to the U.S. legally. She can then apply for an adjustment of status, which will eventually give her a green card.

The process could take several months, but by early 2010, she should have her green card.

While the legal status will let his daughter stay, Hubert Bledniak said “it doesn’t change anything.”

“She’s always had a home here,” he said.