‘They are 100% innocent’: Ukrainian family fears Broward case could end in deportation

The American dream turned into a nightmare for a Ukrainian family who has lived in Pompano Beach since 2016 after they were accused of crimes their loved ones say they didn’t commit.

The Makarenko family bought a house in Pompano Beach and ran several businesses, including MakSky, a home goods store. Yevhen Makarenko, 43, registered the Florida corporation in 2018.

He and his 44-year-old wife, Iana Makarenko, have three sons and a daughter who were born in Ukraine and consider themselves Ukrainian Americans.

As immigrants, the fear that anything can change their lives again came true. Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested the parents and their 21-year-old son, Oleh Makarenko, on March 10th.

The three are facing charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, and burglary. Deputies did not include the details about the cases in the arrest forms.

A family friend released this statement: “All we know is they are 100% innocent and we have proof of that, but it’s just sad to see how they can just take an entire family like that — just based on accusations — and there is nothing we can do at this point now because it’s in the legal hands.”

Their loved ones fear that “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t apply to refugees. Amid the Russia-Ukraine war and the millions of Ukrainian refugees in need, the prospect of deportation lingers with fear.

The family’s supporters set up a Change.org petition and they are asking the public for help.

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