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USA: “I am getting deported on Wednesday”

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.

Bloggers at DreamActivist.org and other immigrant rights blogs are calling on Americans to help delay her deportation until new legislation is enacted that would enable her to stay.

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's 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.

Llusho (third from the left) with friends during her high school graduation ceremony.

Llusho (third from the left) with friends during her high school graduation ceremony.

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

Several bloggers have written about Herta and encouraged their readers to fight for her cause, including American Humanity, B-Listed, Documenting Me, Nuestra Voice and Standing FIRM.

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.

He continues:

“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”

15 comments

  • This is beautifully written, Hoa. It’s telling that you did a better job of covering this story than any other media outlet I’ve witnessed yet.

  • List of Media Outlets That Have Covered Herta’s Story…

    CONTINUALLY UPDATEDFollowing is a list of blogs media outlets that have covered Herta’s story since it was first published by dreamactivist.org on August 11, 2009…….

  • azmat mall, sialkoti

    Hoa,
    As an immigrant myself the story of Herta touches my heart. I can understand the pain she is going through. Comming to the United States as a child and getting Americanized and beleiving in all that America has to offer. It is hard to abndon or break away from the culture and friendships you have carved over the years. I dont know what could be said or done to help this younglady’s situation. I’m pretty sure herta’s mother has tried every option available to her. My suggetion will be to hire a good immigration lawyer and see what he could accomplish. I beleive time, money, and patience is required. In these matters pateince is usually drained to empty levels. I took me better than 6 years to immigrate to the United States legally. I came here alone as a youngman on a student visa in the early 70s. During all this time my patience was all time low. I was hungry, broke, and miseable. But somehow I made it, got my higher education, got my citizenship, got married and settled here with no attention of ever going back to the old country. My humble advice for Herta is to be positive and make the right decisions. Everything will be alright. Good luck Herta!

  • Michigan Liberal Front Pages My Herta Post – Shames Traditional Media…

    I want to thank Eric Baerren and Richard Hellinga of Michigan Liberal for front paging my post on Herta Llusho.  It seems to have shamed traditional media into giving a little bit of coverage to Herta’s case.  Detroit Public Radio,the……

  • Lindita

    I don’t get this. Why is Herta the extraordinary one? She is here (now) illegally and must be deported like the other thousands that are deported every year.

    I know Albania — there is no conflict there, it is an amazing country, beautiful, non-secular, and there are so many opportunities there. In fact, I know many students that studied in the states and couldn’t wait to return to their homes in Tirana, Vlora, Shkoder, etc. where they all have jobs today.

    She shoudl be proud of her country and go back to apply the education she gained here to make Albanian a better place. Also, her father is there, its not like she has no one there.

    • Lindita,

      She is here now illegally, yes, but not of her own volition. She was brought here as a youth and this is now the only country she knows.

      I don’t think it’s a matter of being “proud of her country,” it’s a matter of where her home really is now. And to her, that’s the U.S.

    • It is also a strange irony that student from abroad can obtain a visa to study in the USA, but a young woman who has lived most of her life in the country cannot. Incidentally, the new DREAM act law would also change the status of “undocumented” young people who have served in the US military. I think the important thing is that there are tens of thousands of young people in this situation, through no fault of their own, and a lot of people and politicians agree it is not fair or sustainable for the country. Sure, she is not being sent to a country where she will be tortured or anything like that, but she is still being kicked out of her home and school like a criminal, even though she has done no wrong. It’s very easy to say she should just accept it, but imagine if it happened to you. I am sure it must be a very hurtful and demoralizing experience.

      • Artan

        You know what, I have been in the same situation as Herta! After living for 9 years in the US, never being back in Albania I had to go back. I arrived in the US when I was 15 and left the US when I was 24. Not only that but I was legal as a student. When the US government did not issue my US visa I went back. Was it difficult? Absolutely! The fact is that Herta is a third culture kid. I had lots of trouble adjusting to the country and still do. Life moves on! After a few years here, I had to learn that America is not everything in the world. If Herta does not want to come back, she will not make it here or anywhere else. I have many friends and family back in America but that does not mean that we have to break the law. Is the system perfect? NO!!!!! My only recommendation is to face these difficulties and do what is right in the eyes of the law. The world is not perfect and unfair. If we accept these facts we will move on and adopt. Sorry don’t mean to be rude but that is my experience.

  • Dillon

    Why is Herta an extraordinary person?Is she some sort of Einstein that this country can look the other way?No,but these people have exploited and broken the law and are doing the same thing as we speak.Her brother is on a student visa and her mother is on what visa?Give me a break.If these people are allowed to stay and basically get legalised,then this country should be ready to accept the entire albanian population in or for that matter the entire mexican population.Don`t support illegal immigration!

  • azmat mall

    Dillon,

    I understand where you’re coming from, but you have to realize a bit that it is not Herta’s fault. I know she is no better than any other illegal person living in the US. But I also see her as a victim of her parents sins; They knew what they were doing all along. They figuered somehow America owed them something for being here. I bet her mother never cared to legalize their status anyway. If they love America so much then all they have to do is to go back to Albania and enter the United States legally. It wont be so bad. I say this: if you love America then abide by its laws, very simple.

    • DogwoodTree05

      There are no illegal people. It is never illegal to be a person. Illegal immigrant is more accurate. Even if she and her mother came here on visas, they remained here intentionally without green cards.

      Regardless of what one thinks about illegal immigration, it is foolish to cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face. Sending back tens of millions of undocumented residents, many of whom received a taxpayer-funded education or who are parents of American children, is not in our national interest at all.

      Most of our economic growth in the 90s was spurred by immigration, both legal and illegal. If immigrant-origin population growth (immigrants and their US-born children) is factored out, US economic growth is actually lower than that of Japan during its moribund lost decade. Moreover, most OECD countries are facing the daunting prospect of aging populations with fewer workers to support the elderly. The US has a higher worker-to-retiree ratio than most of Western Europe, Japan, and Korea, thanks largely to legal and illegal immigrants and their children.

      Even if undocumented immigrant parents do not pay enough in taxes to cover the cost of their children’s education or welfare benefits in the case of American citizens, their presence here is still a net benefit. Undocumented immigrants are productive, and raising children, though unpaid, has great economic and social value.

      This young woman and others like her are living in the US illegally. A law granting conditional amnesty can change that.

  • […] described on Global Voices last month, Herta Llusho, a 19-year-old college student born in Albania, was facing deportation on […]

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    Nineteen-year-old Julio Martinez was released from immigration detention on Thursday after two weeks of intensive organizing on his behalf by supporters in Kentucky and Chicago. As in other cases of Dream Act-eligible youth around the country, Julio’…

  • MJ

    What has happened to this girl now? Does anyone know?

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