Mother-of-three deported to Albania after living 18 years in the US
Cile Precetaj was deported to Albania without being allowed to say her goodbyes to her children or her husband.
Detroit Free Press reported that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) found her to be an unlawful citizen, despite having lived in the country for 18 years without any criminal record.
However, a spokesperson for the department said they had notified family members of her impending deportation about 10 days ago.
She was deported on May 17 and her husband, Pete Gojcaj, learned about it at 4 a.m. the same day. He received a call from Germany telling him that she was on her way to Albania accompanied by two ICE agents.
Gojcaj said that his children were “devastated” and “traumatized.” “They got on the bus crying. They said, ‘This is not the government they teach us about in school.’”
Khallid Walls, ICE’s spokesman, said they were notified and the family had turned in her luggage and other personal belongings too.
The family claimed that Gojcaj got a call from the department asking him to pack his wife’s belongings and bring to Detroit’s ICE headquarters. However, they were not informed about any future action the department would take nor were they given a definitive date of deportation.
Precetaj would call him regularly from Calhoun County, where she was jailed during her legal fight against deportation, while her husband and the children prayed for a miracle.
When she called her husband from Germany, she revealed that she was picked up from the Calhoun County jail on May 16 by five ICE agents, who shackled her and took her to Detroit to prepare for her removal.
She was also told not make a fuss or they would put her in restraints.
The mother-of-three had been seeking asylum in the U.S. since 2000 and has no criminal record. She was spared deportation about four years ago but was arrested last month during a routine monthly visit to the ICE office.
Precetaj lived with her husband and three children, aged eight, 10, and 16. Gojcaj is a Yugoslavian immigrant who has lived in the U.S. for 30 years.