Heart rending decision made after family business lost in fight to keep family together
Friends, family and supporters gathered around Pete Gojcevic as he said his goodbye Tuesday, June 10, to his son and two daughters as they boarded a plane to Albania. His American-born daughters Megan, age 10, Martina, age 8, and Michael, age 16, are joining their mother, Cile Petraj, who was deported from Detroit this past May.
Gojcevic, who sold the family-run Oakwood Country Cafe in June due to the demands on his time fighting his wife’s deportation, is now looking for work. Besides sending money to his family in Europe, he will have to also support his mother Sterling Heights.
Tireless advocates for their mother’s case, Michael, Megan and Martina spoke recently at the June 30th “Melt the ICE” rally in Clark Park. They shared the agonizing story about the last time they spoke at a stop along the 90-mile “Pilgrimage to keep immigrant families together” in May. It was at that time their mother was taken from the St. Clair County jail and put on a plane back to Albania without notice. “I didn’t know she was gone until she called from Germany,” said Gojcevic. “We never got a chance to say goodbye.”
By his side at the airport was Doug Fleury, a Madison Heights man who became Gojcevic’s friend when they found themselves in the same situation. Fleury’s wife, Laura was arrested by ICE agents after she dropped off their three daughters at school. He believes a dispute with a neighbor may have resulted in the family being under surveillance.
As the Gojcevic family stood in line waiting for their tickets, Fleury’s daughters held him crying, reliving their mother’s loss. “This is insane,” said Fleury. “I don’t know how anyone involved in this terrible business can sleep at night.”
“I’m heartbroken, devastated, my family’s been split apart,” Gojcevic reflected once his children went through security and were out of sight. “I had the girls promise me they wouldn’t marry until they came back.” In the meantime, Gojcevic says he will have to work extra hard to support two families.