Ewelina Bledniak, pictured above with her family, will be deported from the U.S. for a decade if she does not return to her native Poland for a year.
Eleven-year-old Ewelina Bledniak, pictured with her parents, is being ordered to return to Poland or face deportation. The Cumming, Ga., girl hasn't been to Poland since she was 2.
The last thing 11-year-old Ewelina Bledniak of Cummings, Ga., had in mind for her summer vacation was a deportation fight.
But Hubert and Agnes Bledniak's daughter, who has been in the U.S. since she was 2 years old, faces getting thrown out of America if she doesn't "voluntarily leave" the country by July 23.
If she doesn't go "home" to Poland — a country she hasn't seen since she was a baby — on her own, she'll be sent back involuntarily and not allowed to return for 10 years.
Ewelina's family came to America in 1999, and her father has become an American citizen. Her mother, a permanent resident, also is seeking to become a citizen. But because of a lawyer's mistake eight years ago, according to the Bledniaks, Ewelina can't stay in the U.S. with her parents.
The Bledniaks say their lawyer failed to file the proper documentation for Ewelina back in 2001 — a mistake that stayed under the radar until the family applied for their daughter's green card. It came back denied, automatically putting Ewelina into deportation proceedings.
"She didn't do anything wrong," said Hubert Bledniak, who moved to Cumming, a small town about an hour north of Atlanta, in 1999 and owns a tile installation business. His wife, Agnes, works at a restaurant.
"I don't think she is supposed to be separated from her family," the girl's father said.
"I am a citizen of the United States. I am paying taxes, even to Immigration, and basically I'm paying for them to chase my daughter, instead of chasing people at gas stations who are looking for work and not paying taxes."
The Bledniaks plan to travel with Ewelina to Poland on July 20. Once there, they will have to wait for an interview with the U.S. Embassy. Embassy officials will evaluate Ewelina's documentation and make her undergo a medical examination. If the family's petition is granted, she will be permitted to return to the U.S., and to re-file for a green card.
Maria Odom, the Bledniaks' new lawyer, told FOXNews.com that the process could be grueling and time-consuming. "It could be up to a year — it depends on how quickly the cases are moving," she explained.
"She is losing a year of school," her father said. "She'll have to go to Polish school, but she doesn't understand Polish language. It's going to be hard for her."
The family also has to face the realities of leaving home for an indeterminate amount of time.
"I can't leave my business here, I have two houses I have my mortgage," Hubert told FOXNews.com. "People are trying to stay in their houses, and put food on the table, and I have to go to Poland for a long time."
Bledniak said the legal snafu has provoked fights between him and his wife, something he doesn't want his daughter to see. "We get emotional, and my daughter has to see that," he explained. "She doesn't understand why she needs to go to Poland."
Odom, the family's lawyer, says cases like the Bledniaks' are far too common, and she says the immigration system is severely broken.
"We aren't just listening to a political talking point," she said. "When we say it's broken, it's broken. This is just another example that emphasis of the current law is not on family unity."
Bill Wright, a press secretary for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, gave this statement about the Bledniaks' situation:
"We are sympathetic in cases such as these. While I can't go into specifics, I can say that we are looking into all details of this case and we look forward to working with the family to explore all possible remedies."