Tony and Janina’s American Happy Ending

It has to be a rare thing when a documentary film actually helps reverse a deportion decision of United States immigration enforcement, but that is what the film Tony and Janina’s American Wedding (reviewed earlier on appears to have done. Janina Wasilewski, whose family was separated after the United States denied her a green card and deported her to Poland four years ago, returned to the U.S.A. August 8 with her American-born son and was reunited with her husband Tony Wasilewski at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The U.S. granted Janina a waiver that allowed her to return.

“I just have to say thank you for all the people who worked for us (so) I can spend time with my husband in here, in the U.S.A.,” Wasilewski reportedly said after embracing her husband. “I always had hope.” Mother and son were greeted by some 100 people who erupted in cheers when the pair came into view. Tony Wasilewski hugged his wife and embraced his son, then handed the boy an American flag that was folded in a triangle. “I feel like the luckiest man alive,” Tony Wasilewski was reported as saying.

I talked with Steve Dixon, co-producer of Tony and Janina’s American Wedding, last week when he had learned of Janina’s imminent return. He was eager to say that pressure brought to bear by the couple’s legal team, by advocates in Congress such as Luis Gutierrez and Richard Durbin, and by citizens who spoke out after attending screenings of the film had all helped to secure Janina’s return. Dixon was ecstatic, as am I. Had I not been in Michigan for another American wedding, I would have been at the airport cheering too.

See the following for excellent news coverage of the reunion: The Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, and New York Times.

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