Ewelina Bledniak, 11, to Be Deported Because of Lawyer's Error, Mom Says

Mom: Eight years after lawyer forgot to file papers, daughter is Poland-bound.

ByABC News
June 9, 2009, 2:17 PM

June 10, 2009 — -- An immigration lawyer's mistake eight years ago is on the brink of forcing the deportation of an 11-year-old Georgia girl to Poland, the girl's mother told ABC News Tuesday.

The parents of Ewelina Bledniak have made plans to accompany the girl next month to their native Poland, where they will be forced to leave her while she petitions for legal status in America through the U.S. embassy in Warsaw. Such status would have been granted to her in 2001 had the family's former lawyer promptly filed the proper petition, the girl's mother, Agnus Bledniak, said.

Although the girl had lived in the United States since she was 2, the Bledniaks said they did not know her petition for legal status had not been accepted until early last year when they received a letter from U.S. immigration services.

"We got papers that she could not be approved for a green card," Agnus Bledniak said of the permanent resident card issued to non-citizens.

When her husband, Hubert, investigated, Bledniak said, they found the petition on behalf of their daughter was never even considered because it had been filed too late.

"We didn't know she sent our papers too late," Bledniak said of the lawyer. "If we could have found out earlier, she probably would have a green card a long time ago."

The lawyer's office declined to comment, citing attorney-client privilege.

The parents plan to leave Ewelina with her grandmother, the only person she knows in Poland, because her father must return home to run his tile business and Bledniak is worried that her own legal status, won three years ago, would delay her quest for U.S. citizenship.

According to the family's new lawyer, Maria Odom, Ewelina is likely to wait for at least a year in Poland while her green card petition is processed.

"We've got a normal life and everything," Agnus Bledniak said. "We pay taxes. We try to be good citizens ... [Ewelina] is very upset. She's got her whole school here. It's not very happy."