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.”
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.
Mamigonian’s attorney, Gittel Gordon, said Wednesday from her San Diego office: “ICE charged her with that, but it went before an immigration judge. ICE was able to present its evidence that she had made a false claim to citizenship, and the judge decided she did not.”
In the meantime, Mamigonian has applied three times for a green card through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Her application has been turned down twice, and a third attempt is pending.
“The 9th Circuit (Court of Appeals) has ruled that it is contrary to the law for ICE to deport people while they have an Adjustment of Status application pending, as she does,” Gordon said.
Mamigonian and Simonyan, who also was born in Armenia, were introduced long distance by family members and corresponded for a while before she moved to Sacramento in 2002. He had lived in Portland, Ore., before moving here eight years ago. He became an American citizen soon afterward.