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Trip to Poland may be vacation, not goodbye
Girl, 10, could stay while case reviewed
Ten-year-old Ewelina Bledniak’s future remains uncertain as multiple federal agencies continue to review her immigration case. - photo by File photo
Ewelina Bledniak’s future remains uncertain as multiple federal agencies continue to review her immigration case.

Bledniak, who has spent most of her 10 years in Forsyth County, faces deportation to her native Poland on July 23, less than two weeks after her 11th birthday.

The family's attorney, Maria Odom, said the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has agreed to revisit the girl’s situation, which family blames on legal confusion and a paperwork mixup.

The department could still choose to deport Bledniak, though she can remain at her home during the legal process, which could take up to six months.

“The standard waiting time for an adjustment case is usually about six months, so it’s a little hard to predict how quickly they’ll move on this one,” Odom said.

Hubert Bledniak, Ewelina’s father, is cautiously optimistic.

“I don’t know how it’s going to end, but we’re hoping for the best,” he said.

Hubert and Agnes Bledniak have attained permanent U.S. resident status since moving from Poland. They thought the same was true for their daughter, only to have immigrations services deny her application for permanent residency in 2007.

To avoid deportation and the resulting 10-year ban from the U.S., the Bledniaks planned next month to fly to Poland, where Ewelina Bledniak would then move in with her grandmother.

In light of recent events, however, her father is considering using the July 20 trip to Warsaw for a small vacation instead of a family goodbye.

“We would like to go because we already have the tickets. We could just spend a vacation there,” said Hubert Bledniak. “But I’d have to buy a return ticket for Ewelina because she doesn’t have a return ticket.

“But I’m not sure if we’re going to be allowed to go or not. If they’re going to say she needs to stay, then we’re going to stay.”

In order to review the decision, immigration officials have “to ask the immigration court to reopen the removal case and to cancel her removal, so they can go back and reconsider that decision from 2007, denying her adjustment,” Odom said.

U.S. Immigration Court Judge Grace A. Sease is handling the case. The court is part of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, a division of the Department of Justice.

The family and the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement office agree the case should be revisited, which could speed up the time frame.

“They are very interested in seeing this case handled expeditiously,” Odom said. “We should hopefully hear from USCIS within a matter of, I would hope, a few months.”

E-mail Jennifer Sami at