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She takes refuge in a church and sculpts dumplings: how an immigrant from Russia saves herself from deportation to the USA

Irida Kakhtiranova, an immigrant from Russia, has been trying to avoid deportation from the United States for more than two years now, hiding from ICE in a church in Northampton, Massachusetts. A 38-year-old woman rarely sees her three children and her husband - she cannot leave the building, the channel's author writes. Vinograd.US on Yandex.Zen.

Photo: Shutterstock

In June 2003, Irida came to the United States from Russia. And on April 6, 2018, she crossed the threshold of a building belonging to the Unitary Society of Northampton and Florence in order to avoid arrest and deportation.

For fifteen years in the country, a woman managed to marry a US citizen, give birth to three children, but was never able to legalize herself. She took refuge in the church the day before the next mandatory visit to the ICE office, during which she most likely faced arrest and deportation.

Because of this failure to appear, Irida is now considered a repeat offender and is subject to transfer to the ERO for deportation without trial.

“As an exception, Ms. Kakhtiranova became part of the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program, but on condition that she voluntarily leaves the United States. But she broke the terms of that agreement when she didn't leave the United States voluntarily. Now she is considered a fugitive from ICE, ”said John Mohan, a spokesman for the ICE office in Massachusetts, on the situation with Irida when she took refuge from the immigration police officers in the church.

Today, the eldest son of the Russian woman is twelve, and the twin daughters are six. In the absence of the mother, the children are looked after by the husband, who cannot work due to his disability. Irida earned money for the family - right there in the kitchen in the church she sculpted pierogi (pierogi) with different fillings and sold them. Cooking was a real salvation for a woman: she earned her money and, as she herself says, occupied her mind, calmed down, because she felt at home. But due to the pandemic, the case had to be closed.

"Her dumplings are insanely good."

Kakhtiranova said she first started making dumplings a few years ago at home because she didn't like the ones she could buy at the grocery store. She said it took her a year to perfect her craft, writes Gazettenet.

“After that, my kids didn't eat any other dumplings anymore,” she said with a smile.

The treats definitely have a lot of fans in her area.

“We sold out the first batch within 10 minutes,” said Joshua Raposa, an intern at the Pioneer Valley Work Center who sold Irida dumplings at the farmers' market. "I had to call the church to send another batch."

One of the residents of a neighboring town, Kim Friedman, accidentally stumbled upon a table with dumplings from Iris in the market.

“I managed to get two packages,” she said. "I went home and cooked and they were insanely good."

Next time Friedman drove 30 minutes to Northampton to buy four packs of dumplings.

On the subject: Who do Russians without education work in the USA: the experience of an immigrant

Request for help

During the pandemic, this business, as Irida herself reported on the page GoFundMe, had to close, and the woman was left without a livelihood. Here are excerpts from her address:

“I am reaching out to you through this message to thank you and express the importance of your help and contribution. As we know, Covid-19 has changed our lives, and now everything is different. I hope you take care of yourself and take precautions if you need to leave your home.

My family and I are safe. The dumpling business had to be shut down until it was safer for us, for the staff who still work at the church, and for everyone who bought goods and helped with sales. At the moment I have no source of income.

My children, my husband and I look forward to meeting you when it is safe and we miss you very much. Stay Safe! With love, Iris. "

Deportation from the USA: "I'd rather live in a rabbit hole"

Irida Kakhtiranova grew up in the Urals in the Muslim community, where she could never admit to anyone that women, too, were attracted to her as a sexual partner.

After the ninth grade, she entered college, where she met a girl in a dorm with whom she began a relationship. Irida and her friend left for the USA together. In June 2003, the girls came to America among hundreds of thousands of other international students who come to the United States every summer as part of the international J-1 visa program.

At first, the friends ended up in the resort town of Wildwood (New Jersey), where they worked serving restaurants on the waterfront. Then we went to Florida when the tourist season started there. They lived together, eventually met a local resident, a young guy, with whom they began to rent an apartment for three.

At some point, Irida parted with her friend, she moved out, and the American guy stayed. So they began to live together. First as neighbors and friends, and then as a couple: in 2007 they had a son, then they moved to western Massachusetts, closer to his parents. In 2009, Irida married her son's father, and in 2014 they had twin daughters. The husband's family lived nearby and helped. Irida was working. The children grew up. Everything was fine, except for one thing - Irida was never able to legalize herself through marriage.

Irida received the deportation order in 2007, the year her son was born. She did not hide from the immigration authorities, received legal advice and then went to check in with ICE for ten years, obtaining a legal residence permit - not a green card, but permission to stay in the country.

All this time, she worked, paid taxes, never committed crimes, and did not use other names to hide income or her location.

Under the Obama administration, immigrants without a criminal record were not expelled in the first place. They could wait for their turn for deportation for decades. It is for this reason that Irida went to ICE personally every year without fear - first weekly, then monthly, and then twice a year.

In June 2017, the Immigration Office refused to renew her permission to stay in the country. The Russian woman knew that she was heading for this - the Trump administration changed the rules for people like her: undocumented immigrants began to be expelled from the United States in a row, regardless of the circumstances. The woman was scheduled for another meeting, and she realized that next time she would be arrested and deported from the United States to Russia.

At that time, she worked as a waitress in a restaurant, earned good money, but immediately quit her job and went to the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence for help.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents do not arrest undocumented migrants in churches, schools and hospitals. But they can be detained near the shelter, so since April 2018 Irida has not gone outside. She breathes fresh air, sticking her head out the window. He sees children and husband on Skype and sometimes in person - children need to go to school, and they cannot come to their mother as often as they want, but they stay overnight with her on weekends. Irida is glad that she has asylum, because in her case there are two alternatives - either an immigration prison or Russia.

On the subject: Rising cost of USCIS services will block many immigrants from access to US citizenship

American volunteers did everything to make the immigrant from Russia and her family feel good. Thanks to their donations, the Russian woman was able to buy raw materials for her business, they have already organized charity concerts in the church twice, all the income from which they gave to the woman. Plus, they helped her open a campaign on the GoFundMe website. And they also bought her products, thus giving them money.

Irida misses children, family life, noise, hubbub and even snoring ... Calls her separation from her husband - divorce without divorce. She dreams that she will continue her cooking when she leaves the church, that she will open her own restaurant in Northampton - she already has a regular clientele. She dreams that she will again go to school concerts of children and accompany them to school buses - while she does all this through the phone screen.

At the same time, Irida says that in the United States, even without legal status, she feels more secure than in her home country. And it would be better to live in a rabbit hole, but in the USA, than return.

Irida devotes all her free time to the struggle for her status - she endlessly consults with various lawyers and politicians, trying to spread her story as far as possible outside the church walls.

Read also on ForumDaily:

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10 steps to naturalization: how to become a US citizen

Half of jobs lost during a pandemic may not recover

States of the USA, where Russians are best treated: impressions of an immigrant

Miscellaneous Russian speaking immigrants Our people deportation of immigrants

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