Michael Sangiacomo and John Kuehner; Plain Dealer Reporters

Sylwester Boryka's deportation to Poland was over before he knew it.

The Brecksville man, whose son made national headlines by writing a letter asking President Bush to let his mom and dad stay in America, returned home last night, less than a month after being deported.

When he left Jan. 14, Boryka had no guarantee that he would be able to get all his paperwork approved and return to America, a process that could normally take a year or longer. In most cases, a deported person is banned from returning to America for as long as 10 years.

His wife, Mariola Boryka, said that until now, she hadn't been away from her husband longer than three days in 12 years of marriage. Clutching a bouquet of red, white and blue flowers and watching for his flight at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, she said, "We are tired of the waiting."

Around 9:15 p.m., Sylwester Boryka walked down the concourse and hugged his two children. Then he kissed and hugged his wife. Tears spilled from her eyes, while Sylwester Boryka struggled to keep his own dry.

"I cannot talk too much, but I feel good," he said.

In early 2000, the Immigration and Naturalization Service ordered Sylwester and Mariola Boryka deported for overstaying their visas for the past 10 years. The letter written by their son, Karol, to the White House prompted telephone calls from the INS commissioner's office in Washington, D.C.

Boryka's lawyers worked out an agreement with the INS that effectively greased the bureaucratic wheels for Boryka's return.

Now he has a green card that allows him to live legally in the United States.

"This is a banner day for immigration rights," said John Wolanin, president of the Cleveland Society of Poles, who joined Boryka's family at the airport last night.

The next phase of the agreement calls for Mariola to be deported before June 15 and return home as quickly.

The couple's attorney is Richard T. Herman, Esq.

Herman said the Borykas came to America in 1990 on tourist visas and stayed after they expired. The INS began deportation proceedings in 1991, and the couple agreed to leave voluntarily in 1999. They stayed because they believed their case was being reviewed.

The family might have stayed in the country indefinitely if Mariola, 35, had not been stopped by North Royalton police on a routine traffic check a week before Christmas in 2000. When police learned that the INS had a warrant out for the woman and her husband, they lured Sylwester to the police station and arrested him as well. Both were turned over to the INS.

The Plain Dealer Cleveland, OH
Saturday, February 9, 2002


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