Thursday, June 5, 2008

Local mother fights to keep family together, and in the U.S. (WAVY-Newport News, VA)

Local mother fights to keep family together, and in the U.S.
Filed by Mary Kay Mallonee
June 5, 2008 07:27 PM EDT

NEWPORT NEWS, VA. ( -- A local mother is fighting to keep her family together and keep them here in the U.S.

Right now immigration agents are working to deport the mother from Newport News back to England - all over $300.

"Very terrifying. And I just feel like it's a nightmare," said Kathryn Ingleson. "I have to be gone by Augsut 14th."

Ingleson was born in Yorkshire, north of London. She spent her early childhood there. Then, her mother, father and two sisters left London and came to settle in America.

The memories of England faded fast.

"I came from England and I was seven years old."

Now 31 years old, Kathryn is a single mother raising her two children alone and facing imminent deportation and likely separation from her kids.

"Good possibility my kids will be here and I will be there."

Aliyah, 9, said she is so scared. "And I wouldn't like to be separated from my Mom."

Her brother, Hakeem is 17 and about to graduate high school. "I'll have to take care of my sister," he said.

Time is running out. And now the fate of this family rests solely in the hands of Governor Tim Kaine.

"It would be hard on me and my brother and please forgive my mom because what she did when she was younger. I'm sure she didn't really mean to do," cried Aliyah.

When Kathryn was 18 and raising a little boy on her own, she used someone else's credit card to buy a Christmas tree and some presents - worth about $300.

She immediately confessed and payed the money back. Her court appointed attorney told her, "Just plead guilty to felony credit card theft."

"I was 18. I was scared. They told me no jailtime, plead guilty and I wouldn't go to jail. At that time it was just me and my son and he was 5," sobbed Kathryn. "I was on probation. I completed everything. I paid restitution. I did everything I was supposed to do 13 years ago."

That was the first and only time Kathryn has ever been in trouble with the law. She went on to a successful career in the packaging industry, she saved up and bought a home for her children.

Then, one day in 2003, returning from a rare trip back to England to visit her dying Grandmother, Kathryn's life was turned upside down.

"When I came back through Customs they gave me a red folder and they flagged me and took me into a room."

At Dulles Airport Kathryn and her children were yanked out of line.

"And they basically fingerprinted me and took my passport."

Thinking this had to be a mistake, Kathryn soon found out what was happening.

"Basically saying they are deporting me for $320 for something I did when I was 18."

Scared and confused, Kathryn was immediately red-flagged for deportation.

"And I have a travel date for August 14th. I have to be gone by then."

And without permission from her kid's estranged father, Kathryn will be forced to move to England and leave her children behind.

"And I've been the only one there for them, so it's very hard," said Kathryn.

"This is an extraordinarily unique case," says her attorney in Alexandria, Joseph Peter Drennan.
"Had she been prosecuted immediately we would not be having this conversation today," he said.

Drennan says Kathyrn's crime occured months before a new law that would do away with deportation protections for people in Kathryn's situation.

"But, because her file sat on somebody's desk for upwards of 6 months, she is ineligible for that sort of relief. The way in which immigration law is being enforced today, without much regard to the individual circumstances of people like K, K is subject to being removed from the United States. And I don't think any-fair minded person would agree that that is a just result."

Sitting next to her children, Kathry cries, "I feel kind of hopeless. Everybody keeps telling me to just think positive and I'm praying on it all the time."

Immigration courts have refused to overturn Kathryn's deportation orders, so now her only hope is a full pardon from the Governor.

In a whisper, the very shy Hakeem says, "Could he forgive her."

Waiting for the Governor's decision Kathryn and her children spend as much time together as they can, knowing they might soon have to say "Goodbye."

"I tell her that I love her and hope that everything will be ok and be strong," says Aliyah between tears. met briefly with the Governor about this case and he promised to review it.

Also, several elected officials at the state and federal level are working to urge the Governor to grant Kathryn a full pardon so she can stay with her children in the United States.

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