BURLINGTON, NC-- Caroline Camons wasn't able to get her green card before her visa ran out. She and her family are now forced to move back to South Africa.
The Camons moved to North Carolina in 2001. Caroline and her husband obtained working visas and Caroline was hopeful she would be able to get a green card to stay in the USA for good. Her employer, Burlington Christian Academy agreed to help her achieve that goal but the process started too late.
Last week, Caroline found out that she and her family would have to go back to South Africa or face deportation. Caroline is a 5th grade teacher at Burlington Christian Academy. She said the hardest part is leaving her students behind.
"You get kids, you get to know their idiosyncrasies. You get to know their weaknesses and their strengths and to find out that you can't take them all the way to the end, it's really really hard," Caroline told WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford.
Caroline said she understands the procedures and processes that have to be followed. She just wishes it was easier to stay in the country she loves and contributes to.
"I fall in love with my students every year and to me that is the hardest thing that I'm going to have to leave them behind," said Caroline.
Her students were in tears on Tuesday. 5th grader Laurel Pike said, "It made me feel really devastated that my teacher is going to be leaving. I felt really bad that I couldn't spend the rest of the year with her."
Caroline is hopeful that she'll be able to get her green card by July and possibly come back to her teaching job by next year. In the meantime, the whole ordeal has cost her family thousands of dollars.