Staten Island Academy Student's Mom Saved From Deportation
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – TODT HILL – In a season chock-full of stories with happy endings, a Staten Island mom was saved in the "nick"of time from being deported, thanks in part to caring faculty and staff at Staten Island Academy. Academy parent Marzena Pudelkiewicz was almost deported from the United States to her native Poland, due to a clerical error that her previous attorney made while handling her case. Fortunately, an Academy staff member recommended that she seek the advice of another Academy parent,John Nicelli, a Manhattan-based Lawyer who specializes in Immigration Law. Mrs. Pudelkiewicz did, and now the family is celebrating winning their case and receiving green cards. Mrs. Pudelkiewicz and her husband, Jaroslaw, came to the United States from Poland in 1991, settling in Brooklyn. They moved to Staten Island in 2006 and had been working on achieving their "green cards" as permanent residents, according to Mrs. Pudelkiewicz. "We worked hard, paid our taxes, and we did everything 'by the rules'," she said. The family's immigration problems began when Mrs. Pudelkiewicz sought legal advice about returning to Poland to attend the funeral of her brother, who had been killed in an automobile accident there. On advice of her attorney, she was told it was OK to leave the country and she traveled to Poland. When she returned to the United States, however, she was flagged by federal immigration officials and told she would have to return to Poland. Her husband, who is self-employed in the construction industry, also would have to return to Poland, along with their two children, who were both born in America. "We were told we would have to start all over (to come to the United States)," said Mrs. Pudelkiewicz. The Todt Hill couple's older daughter, Samantha Pudeliewicz, 16, is a junior at Staten Island Academy. She has been a student there since sixth-grade. Described as a "serious" student with an interest in American history, she is a member of the high school girls' varsity volleyball team and helped lead the team to the playoffs this season. The couple also has a 2-year-old at home. "We came to this country for a better life, and we moved to Staten Island so that Samantha could get a good education and go to college," Mrs. Pudeliewicz explained. "We couldn't go back to Poland and leave her here, and if we took her back to Poland, she is an American, what opportunities would she have there?"