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 has five months to return 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 eight, 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," Maschiach said.
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," Ane's husband Shai Machiach said.
Just days ago, she learned after 16 years of being in the country, working as a hairdresser, paying taxes, starting a family and attending nursing shcool, she's being forced to return to Brazil.
"They're basically destroying a good family," Shai said. "How can I sit with my daughter and tell her that her mother is not going to be here anymore. 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 said
She says she left Brazil at 20 years old for a better life and worked for everything she wanted in the U.S. Nut 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," Shai said.
This story was originally published by Michelle Quesada on WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida.