Immigration Story of Two Sisters
Claudia Snyder, Mar'Quise Johnson, Christain Trevino
Coming to America
Zoran and Zlata Mitic moved their two young daughters to Austin Texas in 1985. They moved to escape the communist government that was in Yugoslavia at the time; this was before the Revolution in Serbia.
Life in America
The two daughters quickly adapted to their new lives in America both graduating high school and furthering their education. Both of the two sisters got married/engaged to American citizens and the oldest; Oli, had three children all born in The U.S.
The immigration struggle
Life looked promising for the two families as they busily prepared for the younger sister; Jelena's wedding, until one morning when everything changed. Jelena's fiancé Steven was awakened one morning by several federal officers forcefully asking the whereabouts of his soon to be wife. They had told him that a friend of hers had been abducted and they were trying to get information on the subject.He informed them that she was at work. They proceeded to her workplace where they waited for her to arrive and when they saw her making her way out of her vehicle, they tackled her, cuffed her, through her in a van, and drove her to the ICE detention center where they kept her there for a day before transporting her to a federal holding facility in East Texas. After hearing the news of Jelena, Oli brought her three children to her mother in laws house knowing that they would be safe there but not knowing when the next time she would see them would be, she then contacted her lawyer. Both girls knew that their immigration status was incomplete and they were working with the same lawyer that gotten their mother her citizenship. Many people believe that once a person marries a U.S. Citizen they become a citizen as well, this is not true and can be seen in this specific case especially. The family was denied an extension to their visa shortly after coming to The States. The girls father appealed in hopes of gaining residency on a yearly bases. The girls were advised by an immigration officer to just go about their lives with their current status for as he stated "cannot be changed".
Jelena spent a month in prison while her family worked hard to get her out. With much help from local officials Jelena was finally released. Following this incident the sisters were assigned a prohibition officer and were instructed tasks to comply with until the residency was resolved. During the next year the sisters received weekly home visits by officers as well as having to report to the building. On one particular visit Oli went in for her weekly visit when she was informed that her status had changed and she had two weeks until she was to be deported back to Serbia and was assigned to where an ankle bracelet. Her family started to pack and the lawyer said that there was nothing he could do, He said that the only hope they had was to go to the media. This is exactly what they did.
FOX 4 News Report - Keep Jelena and Oli in the USA
Due to an overwhelming support of family and friends from all ends of the earth and government officials, the case was re-opened and the girls were allowed to apply for green cards which they received in 2012. Two years later in 2013 the girls were naturalized. They are now both comfortably living as U.S. Citizens.