Update: When Herta reported to the authorities on August 19 she was told she can remain in the country until November 9. She says there was a 9-inch stack of letters from supporters that her attorney has asked be added to her file. The campaign continues.
Herta Llusho is a 19-year old student at risk of being deported from the United States to Albania on Wednesday, August 19.
And they have listed numerous ways for people to help, including: calling senators and congress members, joining groups and organizations or by simply blogging about her story.
Herta is a freshman at the University of Detroit Mercy, majoring in electrical engineering.
Eight years ago, as a child, Herta arrived in the United States from Albania with her mother, in pursuit of the ‘American dream’. She graduated middle school and high school with good grades.
By definition, Herta is an “undocumented immigrant” but her family have been trying to obtain legal status for her since her first year in the U.S. On August 19, their hopes for her future may be shattered. This is when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plan to return her to Albania.
In an email sent to Dreamactivist.org subscribers, Hersha writes:
“Despite our best efforts, on August 19, I will be removed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from the only place I know as my home. I will be sent back to a country that has become a foreign place to me. I don't even speak Albanian well anymore.”
Herta’s father stayed in Albania, while her mother and siblings ventured across the Atlantic Ocean.
“My parents brought me to the United States because they believed in the promises this country had to offer. To them it was the land of opportunities, values, and ideals. They were faithful believers of the American Dream, meaning that through hard work, education, and good character their children could accomplish anything they wanted.”
In this video made with Kyle de Beausset from Citizen Orange, Herta explains what she is going through.
Blogging for Llusho
Change.org is hosting an online petition to help Herta, and the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) is facilitating phone calls to senators on their website. On Facebook Herta's cause has attracted more than 2000 supporters.
Kyle from, Citizen Orange wrote about meeting with Herta and her older brother Lirjon, who has a student visa.
“Lirjon and Herta are incredible people. Herta is especially lucky to have a brother like Lirjon who has been tirelessly advocating for her. Even in the short time that Lirjon and Herta introduced themselves to my family, they had a huge impact. It was a special moment for me, too. My family is used to seeing me type away at a computer. This was the first time they got to meet the real people whose lives I'm affecting.
“Herta would probably not want me to describe it this way, but the U.S. has spit in her face and she has responded only with love. That deep, true, and endearing love in the face of injustice, when acted upon even by one person, does more for the betterment of the universe than millions of angry demonstraters will ever do. By fighting to stay in the U.S., Herta is participating in what Gandhi would call “satyagraha”, which the Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. often translated into “truth-force” or “love-force.” Those who support Herta are participating in satyagraha, too.”
“I continue to believe…”
With the support of DreamActivist, Citizen Orange, and many others – Herta has shared her story with the world. Their hope is that a proposed bill called The DREAM Act will be passed soon. It would allow undocumented students, like Herta, to become legal residents depending on certain prerequisites, like age of arrival and years of study.
Although federal lawmakers first rejected the bill in 2007, it was re-introduced with some changes in March 2009 and supporters hope that it could gain enough support to be passed with President Barack Obama in office. Should it pass, it is estimated that around 65,000 undocumented students who entered the U.S. as children would be permitted to stay.
Herta hopes that her life may take the same turn as another 18-year old undocumented immigrant and student, Taha in New Jersey. Taha, would have been sent back to his ancestral home of Bangladesh – however, after support from two senators and other Americans – Homeland Security deferred his deportation.
Now, Herta is asking for the same.
“Help me delay my deportation until I finish college or until the DREAM Act is passed. Help renew the promise of the American Dream for me, so that together we can work renew the promise of the American Dream for everyone”