Thursday, August 11, 2011

Monroe Man Facing Deportation (NBC-CT)

Monroe Man Facing Deportation
Wife and three daughters fight to keep Dad in the U.S.
By Debra Bogstie | Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011

A Monroe man who's lived in the United States for 25 years is now being threatened with deportation. His wife and children are hoping immigration officials will reconsider.

Tomasz Kocab arrived here from Poland in 1986. Since then, he's lived the American Dream by running his own flooring business and raising a family. Three weeks ago, life as he knew it came to a halt when immigration officials detained him as he left for work.

Kocab's wife Joanna, who is here legally and is about to become a U.S. citizen, was home when it happened. "I got scared and went outside and screamed, 'Please don't take him.'"

Kocab applied for a green card about 10 years ago but his application was denied, according to Anthony Collins, the family's new attorney.

As a result, he was ordered to leave the U.S., said Collins.

With his family in Monroe and his business in New York, he has stayed and lived peacefully until immigration officials arrested him.

Now, his wife and three daughters are speaking out and doing whatever they can in the hopes of keeping him here.

"My dad is so special to me. He's one of my idols in life. He's always there for me. I mean, I can't imagine life without him," said Eva Kocab, 15.

Kocab's oldest daughter will soon head to college. Her father was planning to pay for the education. "It would mean destroying a family. It would mean me not going to college," said Natalie Kocab, 17.

Their attorney has written to Immigration and Customs Enforcement asking them to stay the deportation and reopen the case. So far, there's been no decision, Collins said. The agency did not respond to our requests for comment.

"It's within the government's power to do the right thing and remove him from custody. They could reopen his removal proceedings and adjust his status," said Collins.

As they wait, the Kocab family and their friends have started a petition drive. It now has more than 500 signatures.

"I just could not believe in this day and age something like that could happen, particularly with children who are American citizens," said Tracy Runko, a family friend.

"It's very unfair," said Eva Kocab. "There are so many people that deserve to leave and my dad is not one of them."

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