Monday, April 25, 2011

Irving student facing deportation will surrender with her family (WFAA-TX)

Irving student facing deportation will surrender with her family

Posted on April 24, 2011 at 10:29 PM

IRVING — College student Olga Zanella faces deportation, but this week, she and her family will take a dramatic step, hoping it leads to the outcome they have been praying for.

Zanella and her family opened their Easter dinner with a prayer that their faith will giving them the strength to step out of the shadows.

Next week, the entire family plans to surrender to immigration officials.

"I know our next step is going to be very meaningful," Zanella said. "It's going to be very difficult; how we are going to work things out?"

For months, Zanella has been fighting her deportation. The 20-year-old student grew up in Irving since the age of six. Throughout the process, she has kept her family's whereabouts a secret.

They are also illegally living in the U-S.

Jose Victor Zanella, Olga's father, father admits he is scared, but he's ready move forward as a family.

"It's important for the entire family to do this together," the elder Zanella said through a translator. "If she is no longer with us, it's like trying to live without oxygen. It's important to stay together."

The decision to surrender was made last week at a meeting with Dallas Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, Zanella, and her advocate, Ralph Isenberg.

"Rather than having a rhetoric war, we would compromise and work together towards trying to do something to help her situation, without any promises," Isenberg said.

There are no promises, but Isenberg told News 8 the family will at least get the chance to present their case.

"It may end up an administrative procedure," he said. "It may end up being in a court procedure... but we will get to have a fair day somewhere. If we are correct in our thinking, then ultimately, that the family could see some relief. On the other hand, if we are wrong, the family could face deportation."

Olga Zanella knows it's all a huge risk, but it's one she will no longer face on her own. Her family will be with her every step of the way.

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