BOCA RATON, Fla. — Imagine being told your American dream has an expiration date. That's what's happening to a Boca Raton woman who came to the U.S. 16 years ago and is now at risk of losing everything she's worked for.
At her last immigration hearing, Ane Maschiach was given a paper that says she says five months to go back to Brazil or she will be arrested. She knows she made a mistake by coming to the U.S. illegally, but now she says she's one step away from getting her green card and her time is running out.
"I haven't even told my daughter because she's 8, so the little one, he doesn't really understand yet. He will know when I'm not here, but I can't tell my daughter," said Maschiach.
For five years, Machiach has been going to immigration hearings and says she's in the last step to be approved for her green card.
"I mean we pretty much did everything by the book," said Shai Machiach, Ane's husband. "Everything that was asked for," she added.
Just days ago, she learned after 16 years of being in the country, working as a hairdresser, paying taxes, starting a family and now going to school to become a nurse, she's being forced to return to Brazil.
"They're basically destroying a good family," said Shai. "How can I sit with my daughter and tell her that her mother is not going to be here anymore," he said. "When he [referring to his son] goes to sleep every night, she’s not going to be there."
And the hardest part of this reality is that Ane said her last application takes six months to be processed to get her green card.
"We're running against time," she said.
Two days after Christmas she's expected to appear for her last immigration hearing before leaving the country.
"I have to come with my [Brazilian] passport and a [plane] ticket proving that I will be leaving the country in February.
She says she left Brazil at 20-years-old for a better life and worked for everything she wanted in the U.S., but because she didn't immigrate legally, she's at risk of losing everything.
"I didn't kill anyone. I'm an immigrant, I believe the world has been doing that forever," she said.
"We love each other, we have two beautiful kids and children together and you know, it might be tough," said her husband.