Family Faces Deportation After Decade Long Struggle For Citizens - My9 New Jersey

Family Faces Deportation After Decade Long Struggle For Citizenship

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Newark, New Jersey (My9NJ) - The Anandarajah family came to the United States ten years ago from Sri Lanka seeking political asylum and they have been fighting for a decade to stay in this country and now they’re facing deportation in April.

In honor of this family’s continuous struggle, a protest was held yesterday outside the New Jersey Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Newark to bring awareness to what these people have gone through.

The family has filed all of the necessary paperwork and coupled with attorney’s to try and get citizenship, to no avail. Unfortunately, come April 8th immigration ruled that the family must leave the United States.

The interesting twist in this whole situation is that one of the daughters, Jennifer Anandarajah, is able to stay in the U.S. She is one of the “dreamers” and has been in the states long enough that she will be granted permission to stay, but her family has to go.

Unfortunately, the family says that it’s unsafe for them to return to Sri Lanka because they are part of the Tamil minority party there and if they return they face possible kidnapping or murder.

“Sri Lanka, the defense authorities have this thing called white van kidnappings. So they’ll take us in, they might release us for the world to see and then in the middle of the night they’ll come back and kidnap us in the white vans and then we don’t know what will happen to us. There have been disappearances, cited disappearances, documented evidence of the white van kidnappings,” Jennifer explained.

Since the civil war ended in Sri Lanka in 2009 there’s 130,000 Tamil Americans in the United States. The state fears that they would be setting legal precedent by allowing one family to stay, because then every other Tamil-American family will want the same right.

Immigration Attorney Sujeet Mohanty chimed in to discuss this ongoing battle.

“They must have tried everything possible in immigration court. They probably are being deported because they don’t have any relief available,” he explained.

However, one protestor said that is not the case and that immigration could in fact grant them a stay.

“Under the Obama administration there are more than a thousand families who are torn apart every day. In this family’s particular case, it is important because they’re not just being deported, they’re being sent back to countries where they can get killed,” she exclaimed.

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