U.S. immigration officials are threatening to send Silva Mamigonian back to Armenia in two weeks, leaving her husband, an American citizen, to decide if he will follow with their two American-born children.
The government says the Rancho Cordova woman entered the country illegally eight years ago and has failed to rectify her immigration status.
A handful of supporters, who gathered Wednesday outside the John E. Moss Federal Building to protest Mamigonian's pending deportation, say she has done nothing wrong and is caught between two federal agencies. They fear time will run out before the matter is resolved.
"It will tear my family apart," Nishan Simonyan said of his wife's possible deportation. "It will be hard on my kids."
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Mamigonian, 31, could be deported as soon as Jan. 14, when a government stay on her removal expires.
She was at home Wednesday with the couple's two boys – Maxim, 8, and Michael, 4.
Simonyan and a few family members and friends held up hand-scribbled signs in quiet protest, hoping to get the attention of anyone associated with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is housed in the Moss building.
The couple's eight-year struggle to keep Mamigonian in this country has cost them $100,000 in legal fees, he said.
ICE officials issued a statement in response to complaints about the Mamigonian case.
"When (Mamigonian) arrived in the United States in 2002, she had no legal basis to enter the country. In an effort to gain admission, she presented officers with a passport belonging to someone else and falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen," the statement reads.
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