A mother of two from Madison will get one more chance to convince officials to let her stay in the United States.
NBC 15 first brought you the story of Asmeret Yosef last week. After bad advice from a lawyer and a mistake within the federal government, Asmeret was told she would be deported back to Africa in just a few days. Asmeret married an American citizen and had two children. She had paperwork stating she was about to complete her green card process. Then last week, Milwaukee immigration officials told her she was in the country illegally and would need to leave without her two daughters.
"They feel it, you know," says Asmeret Yosef. "The first time I was crying, they cried the whole day with me even though I tried to hide my feelings. They know something is going on."
Asmeret has since been granted a hearing. On Thursday, Asmeret will have an opportunity to meet immigration officials with her lawyer to clear up the confusion. Her church says the hearing is an answer to its prayers.
Asmeret belongs to New Life Church on Cottage Grove Road. When friends and fellow church members learned of the family's situation, they felt compelled to help.
"We've done a letter campaign to Russ Feingold and to Senator Herb Kohl, and that has I think been helpful," says friend Cary Hillenbrand. "We're really not looking at the possibility of her leaving because our hope is that she'll be here."
New Life Church Pastor Rob Carlson says faith and prayer has been important to Asmeret throughout the process. "We're very optimistic about Asmeret and what happens in Chicago," says Carlson. "We'll just continue to lift her up and her family and be extremely supportive."
"They've been praying for me," says Asmeret. "They come to my house, I'm not alone."
Still, Asmeret's husband Eyobed Zerzghi says he is trying to keep his hopes grounded.
"If I put my expectations high, if something happens, I don't want to break down emotionally," says Zerzghi.