Vigil held for Russian family facing deportation


Eugene Kotelnikov, 16, knows Wednesday night may have been the last time he raises the American flag in his adopted country. His mother, Titiana Miroshnik, told a crowd gathered at Eugene's high school, she followed all the right steps in the immigration process, but they slipped through the cracks of a broken system. Thirteen years after she first applied for citizenship, they are being deported back to Russia.

"My children are asking me the same question, 'Mom why do you have to go? Why is that happening?'" said Miroshnik.

The deportation for Eugene and his mother do not apply to Miroshnik's two young daughters. They were born in America and will be forced to stay here with their father.

"You know, I love them so much and I think this aspect of the situation is probably the most devastating to me," said Eugene.

The night's candlelight vigil followed a march at the school last week. Eugene's classmates and teachers say he is part of a much larger family.

"He's come through the whole Fremont school system and been an integral part of it. He's been in honors classes and AP classes," said the student activities director Helen Paris.

Miroshnik earns a living by teaching music. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has made it clear she and Eugene are in this country illegally. There is a last minute appeal to Sen. Dianne Feinstein's, D-California.

"Today we submitted a letter to Sen. Feinstein's office, [with] basically her resume, her credentials and qualifications to be a good citizen and her son as well," said Rev. Bruce Green from the Centerville Presbyterian Church.

As the Candlelight vigil spilled onto the sidewalk of Fremont Boulevard, Eugene and Miroshnik say they appreciate the support they've received.

"I just hope that some mercy exists for us, somewhere, some way of getting us pardoned," said Miroshnik.

If the June 18 deportation order remains, it comes one day after Eugene completes his sophomore year at Washington High School.

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