Linda Gurrera, left, talks with Congressman Tim Bishop at her...

Linda Gurrera, left, talks with Congressman Tim Bishop at her home in Selden. (Aug. 14, 2011) Credit: Ed Betz

Sitting in her sister's Selden home, Linda Gurrera recounted the fear and uncertainty of her last days in Dubai.

Giving passports to the U.S. Consulate for safekeeping. Waiting for a moment when her house wasn't watched. Meeting a driver a block away so she wouldn't be seen.

"I never thought I was going to get out," Gurrera, 37, said.

She credits the secretive return to Long Island to Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), whose contact with the U.S. State Department last month ended years of delay.

Bishop met with Gurrera on Sunday, three weeks after she and her two children fled what she described as an abusive relationship with her husband, a Pakistani national.

The husband, whose name is being withheld at Gurrera's request, couldn't be reached for comment. He met Gurrera in Brooklyn; they married and had their first child, Johnny, now 9, in New York before moving to Dubai in 2004.

As U.S. citizens, Gurrera and her two children could have returned with less difficulty if her youngest child, Jasmine, 4, had the documents she needed from the United Arab Emirates, where she was born.

Gurrera asked her sister, Spyder Lawson, for help about two years ago.

Lawson contacted the U.S. Consulate in Dubai, and tried to work with UAE officials. The country was seeking penalty payments because Jasmine's father never got her residency visa at birth, as required.

Bishop's Patchogue office was contacted June 28. The congressman said he "impressed upon" the consulate that the situation was urgent.

"These consulates have an awful lot on their plates," he said. "It's easy for things to slip through the cracks."

The State Department confirmed it helped Gurrera and her children leave Dubai but didn't disclose specifics.

According to Bishop and Gurrera's family, officials made the husband relinquish passports for Gurrera and her children. They worked with the UAE to provide Jasmine's visa and waive most fines.

On July 18, the consulate arranged secure transportation for Gurrera and her children to the airport. Because the husband kept close watch on the home, Gurrera said, she met the driver down the street.

Today, she's living with her sister and is about to start pharmacist technician training as her children return to school. She worries about her family's safety but is focused on things she once took for granted.

"Just being able to open the door and go outside," she said.

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