In their native Macedonia, the Matlijoski family lived with the fear that armed men would storm into their home one day and haul them away. They never dreamed it would happen in Clifton.
But in the pre-dawn hours of Jan. 24, Mirjana Matlijoska and her son, Goran Matlijoski were roused from sleep by a furious pounding on their front door. "Open up! Police!" Goran recalled hearing moments before eight immigration agents burst into the apartment, handcuffed him and his mother, and took them to a New Jersey detention facility to be deported.
"My life is over – that's exactly how I felt," Goran said Friday, speaking in an interview room at the Hudson County Correctional Center in South Kearny, where he is being held pending deportation to Macedonia.
"My mom said: 'This is not right,' and she started crying," he recalled. "She said: 'We've been here 14 years.'"
The family had lived in America since 1992, when Mirjana Matlijoska -- whose last name is spelled differently than her sons' because of gender -- followed her then-husband to New Jersey with their two children: Goran, who was 12 at the time, and his brother, Naume, who was 17. They filed an application for asylum in 1993, and according to court papers, based it on the claim their house in Macedonia had been burned down by Albanians, and that they feared the forced conscription of their sons into the military.
It took the U.S. immigration service seven years to schedule their first hearing.
"I don't feel that Macedonia is my country," Goran, now 26, said Friday. "I know it's my homeland, but I feel home is here, my mature years were here."
Goran became a rising star on the New Jersey soccer scene, from a leading goal scorer at Clifton High School to a valued member of a number of local club teams. There was even talk of him trying out for the pros, until he broke three vertebrae in his neck in a swimming accident. But he made a near-full recovery, returned to playing soccer and secured a good job working for a Hasbrouck Heights mortgage company. His brother started his own construction business, Goran said, in an effort to support the family after their parents divorced and their father disappeared from their lives. His mother worked a number of jobs to keep paying the lawyers she hoped would secure them a legal path to staying in America…
Read the whole article HereMD: What a story, much luck to them![Northjersey.com]