EAST HARTFORD -- An East Hartford man facing deportation is out of time and out of options.
Domingo Ferreira, who came to the United States legally, got a certified letter from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the day after Thanksgiving telling him he was to be deported on December 6.
But Sen. Richard Blumenthal heard about his family’s story and was able to get Domingo’s deportation delayed for 30 days Blumenthal told FOX 61 the family's story tugged at his heart.
Domingo’s wife 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.
“I became involved because of the health and hardships of members of his family,” said Blumenthal on Monday. “That’s why we continued our efforts and successfully argued for 30 days that was necessary simply for the family to put its life in order, but unfortunately there’s nothing at this point apparently left to do be done because the law has to be imposed.”
The Ferreiras were grateful for the extra time together, but Domingo’s upcoming deportation was always on their minds. He is supposed to report to ICE on Thursday.
“Everybody was celebrating another Christmas. We were essentially celebrating our last Christmas, at least our last Christmas together,” said Diane, Domingo’s wife.
The Ferreiras have three kids, a granddaughter and a grandson on the way.
She said, “25 years together, 23 years married, there’s a lot to look back at and nothing to look forward to.”
Domingo 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 spent some time prison in the U.S. He said it was during a time of weakness when he was struggling to support his family.
Their family has spent around $40,000 trying to fight the deportation, including applying for pardons through the state of Connecticut twice. He was denied both times, but they recently learned even that wouldn’t have kept him in the States. They continue to seek legal help and have a GoFundme page to raise legal funds.
“There’s a lot of frustration on our parts because we sunk thousands of dollars pursuing something that we were told would have helped him that ultimately didn’t pan out and wouldn’t have helped,” said Diane.
Their current frustration and fear is because they don’t know what will happen next. ICE can’t provide any details about the deportation process or timing. They’re worried about how Domingo will get medication for his diabetes.
“Everything is top secret right now. We don’t know anything like they think we're going to do some big heist like you see on movies,” explained Diane. “We need to know does he pack a bag? Does he bring his medicine? I mean there's all these logistics.”
Domingo said, “Unless it's happening to your family you won't realize what people go through and how much pain you go through in life unless it's coming knocking at your door.”
The Ferreiras plan to report to ICE on Thursday as he’s been told to do. Diane said she expects to walk in with Domingo and walk out without him.