Fremont Family Fights to Stay in U.S. | NBC Bay Area

Fremont Family Fights to Stay in U.S.

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    Tatiana Miroshnik and her 16-year old son, Eugene Kotelnikov, hope in the next 15 days somehow, someway, they will be able to stay in the country they now call home: The United States. But there's a real possibility they may have to say goodbye to everything they know and everyone they love.

    "It's very difficult," Miroshnik said while sitting in her Fremont apartment, "because I don't see what we have done wrong," 

    Miroshnik and Kotelnikov have been ordered to leave the U.S. on June 18 because the government says she has overstayed her marriage visa and she and her son are facing deportation back to their native Russia.

    Miroshnik moved to Fremont from Russia with her then 3-year old son. She had married an American man, but they divorced in 1999. Over the next 11 years, she applied for permanent residency, but she was denied each time.

    For Kotelnikov, it means going back to a country where he doesn't speak the language, where he has no memory and no emotional connection. He will be forced to join the Russian Army when he turns 18.

    "We're upstanding people," Kotelnikov said.  "We're not hiding from anybody and none of that comes into play in the situation at all.

    The most devastating and difficult part of this situation is the possibility they will have to leave and say goodbye to her two U.S. born daughters, Tatiana Martinez, 9, and Nastasia Martinez, 7.

    "It's horrible. They're crying day and night right now," Miroshnik said.

    It's that cry that crushes Kotelnikov's heart. His sisters are his world.

    "I've had the responsibility of shaping their lives so much," Kotelnikov explained. "I feel like I'm a part of them. And taking me away from them is like taking a part of myself from me."

    But they're not fighting this situation alone. Hundreds of Kotelnikov's classmates from Washington High School have rallied around him holding a rally and a vigil in support of him and his mother. On Tuesday night, they held up candles as they lined up on Fremont Boulevard. Drivers honked their horns in support.

    Miroshnik says she's reaching out to San Francisco Sen. Dianne Feinstein, hoping she can step in and help. The family is hoping someone will hear their cry for help. The United States is their home and this is where they want to stay.

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