East Hartford man fights deportation as daughter fights cancer, wife has inoperable brain tumor

EAST HARTFORD – An East Hartford man facing deportation on Tuesday now has an extra 30 days with his family.

Senator Richard Blumenthal told FOX 61 he intervened in this case because it tugged at his heart. He was able to get this deportation delayed through the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Domingo Ferreira, who is in the United States legally, got a knock on his door the day after Thanksgiving. It was the delivery of a certified letter from ICE saying he had to report to an immigration office in Hartford on Tuesday for deportation. His family was given 11 days notice.

“It was the worst time, not only because of the holidays, but my daughter had just undergone major surgery. I mean, we both have a litany of medical illnesses,” said Diane Ferreira, Domingo’s wife of 23 years.

Diane Ferreira has an inoperable brain tumor. One of their daughters has lupus and fibromyalgia, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy for what doctors believe could be pancreatic cancer. Domingo is their primary caregiver.

“He gives me my medicine; he drives me to my appointments. I mean, he gets me dressed when I can’t get out of bed,” said Diane.

He came to Connecticut from the Dominican Republican when he was 14 years old. Now, Domingo is being deported due to a crime he committed 12 years ago. He stole a purse and was charged with larceny. He confessed to the crime and was punished in the U.S.

Domingo said it was during a time of weakness when he was struggling to support his family. He said he’d take it back in a heartbeat.

“It doesn’t matter how long ago the crime was. You could have been here since you were 2 years old. You are deportable,” said Diane.

Domingo, doesn’t have anywhere to live in the Dominican Republic, no family over there, or any way to get medication for his own health issues (he has diabetes). But he’s most worried about what will happen to his wife, three kids, and his granddaughter. He also has a grandson on the way.

“It’s breaking my heart to leave my family. This might be our last time together ever. She’s going to give birth and I’m not even going to see my grandson be born,” said Ferreira.

Senator Blumenthal called the Ferreiras personally on Monday to tell them Domingo's deportation had been delayed 30 days.

Blumenthal said, “The reason I became involved was very, very simply the challenging times for this family in the holiday season and really serious medical hardship they were going through.”

Domingo Ferreira reported to the immigration office on Tuesday with his passport and documentation, and was sent home. He was told he would be deported January 5. Now, his only hope is a pardon from Governor Malloy or President Obama.

Diane said, “The fact still remains because of the immigration law, we have absolutely no hope of keeping our family together. Domingo will be gone in 30 days or less.”

The family said they have already spent more than $40,000 on attorneys to help with their case, but they continue to need legal help. One of Domingo’s daughters set up a GoFundme page to help them with those expenses and others.