Reporting Anjali Hemphill
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A routine traffic stop landed a Nevada City woman in jail, and now it may send her back to a country she hasn’t seen in nearly 15 years.
Pascale Fusshoeller came to Sacramento in 1999 from Luxembourg, a small country in western Europe. Fusshoeller says she stayed in the states while waiting for the Supreme Court to allow gay marriage. But, after meeting her now-wife, she decided not to leave after her three-month visa waiver expired. So, now Fusshoeller is locked in a jail cell and facing deportation.
“Europeans don’t need visas to come for business or pleasure,” said Fusshoeller. “We don’t need a visa for three months; we can stay for three months.”
Fusshoeller says she was pulled over earlier this week by a California Highway Patrol officer, and gave the officer her wife’s name in fear she would get in trouble for not being a legal resident.
“I panicked; yes, I panicked,” said Fusshoeller.
The traffic stop has now turned her life upside down. The officer arrested Fusshoeller and she has been behind bars four days, awaiting deportation.
“I’ve never said ‘hey, yeah, I’m a citizen,’ but it just never came up,” said Fusshoeller.
Fusshoeller says she and her wife Susan have been running a well-known news website, Yubanet.com, together for years.
This July, after the court’s decision to allow same sex marriage, the two decided to get married and start the process of making Fusshoeller’s stay legal.
“I was just getting the paperwork together so we could start, so my wife could petition for me to become a resident,” said Fusshoeller.
Now Fusshoeller may be forced to leave the only family she has, and go back to a country she hasn’t been to in decades.
Fusshoeller admits she broke the law, but she doesn’t believe she’s a criminal.
“I wasn’t following the letter of the law, but it was always my intention to legalize as soon as possible. But, as soon as possible wasn’t fast enough,” she said.
Fusshoeller has hired an attorney and hopes she will get enough time to prove that her deportation will cause great heartache with people she would leave behind.
She remains on immigration hold at the Sacramento County Main Jail until further notice.