Original article available here.
Gennady Denisenko has spent the past four months locked up with drug dealers, gang members and others like him; men who are in this country illegally.
Now his family is appealing all the way to the White House to try and keep a father and husband from being shipped halfway across the world.
"It was horrible," Melinda Denisenko recalls. "Absolutely horrible."
Denisenko hasn't seen her husband since April 30th. That was the day they went to northern Virginia for a routine immigration interview.
"Two people came in, two...ICE officers came in and said that they were taking him into custody," Denisenko says, describing what she calls a set-up. "From what I understand it's being done all over the place."
Gennady fled the Soviet Union in 1991, his strong views on democracy and his Christian faith strengthened after the KGB threw him in a Siberian work prison.
In the U.S. Gennady earned his Master's degree from Florida State University and has worked and volunteered at UVa while advancing toward his doctorate.
Now that's all been put on hold as he sits in a Texas prison and waits to be sent back to Russia.
"The Statue of Liberty," Melinda complains, "she's standing there welcoming people and yet we have the structure here that is kicking these people out and ripping families apart."
So now she spends her days and nights praying, holding out hope that she won't face her worst nightmare.
"What do I do?" she asks. "I can't go there. I cannot even think about that. That can't happen."
Right now she says the only thing keeping her husband from being sent away is a delay with travel documents. She adds that with the Russian agression toward Georgia and the rein of Vladimir Putin Russia's not a place where her husband will be safe.
The couple, who have two children attending school in Florida, have some hope. They've gotten the Charlottesville-based Rutherford Institute involved in the case. The head of the institute has sent letters to Senators John Warner and Jim Webb as well as to President Bush, trying to get someone to intervene in Gennady's deportation.