East Hartford man who made headlines to be deported despite community support

EAST HARTFORD -- An East Hartford man will be deported after living legally in the United States for 30 years.

On Thursday, Domingo Ferreira reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Hartford for the second time in two months. He walked in with his wife of 23 years, Diane, but she walked out alone.

"He's gone and there's no coming back," said Diane Ferreira through tears.

Domingo Ferreira came to Connecticut from the Dominican Republic when he was just 14 years old. Now, he is being deported due to a crime he committed 12 years ago. He was charged with larceny after stealing a purse and he served jail time. It caught the attention of ICE years ago when another man stole Ferreira's identity and committed other crimes under his name.

Since then, he had been fighting to stay with his family. When he appeared in court earlier last month he was given a 30-day reprieve. That was after another 30-day reprieve, Senator Richard Blumenthal was able to get for the family based on medical hardships.

Diane and their daughter have serious illnesses and Domingo is their primary caregiver. The Ferreiras also take care of their daughter's two-year-old.

Diane's brain tumor has caused her to have dementia. Before reporting to ICE on Thursday, Domingo was most concerned about her.

"I'm so scared to be separated from my family. I think we've dealed through a lot. You know, my wife she's a strong woman, but shes been through a lot especially today. She's very nervous," he said.

The Ferreiras had filed last minute motions hoping for another temporary stay based on medical hardship and fears for Domingo's safety back in the Dominican Republic.

Diane was told very little about what will happen next to Domingo or when he will actually be deported.

"They took him into custody and wouldn't even let me see him one last time. I explained to them his fear that I have dementia, that he's afraid that I won't ever remember him again, just to let me see him one last time. And his remark was 'You can travel there'  as if it's so easy," said Diane, who has said she can't move to the Dominican Republic with Domingo because of her family's medical treatment and needs.

The family recently hired a legal team to represent him. The family had been without an attorney for several months. They hired New London attorneys Chester Fairlee and Daniel Horgan, who were consulting with immigration attorney Nancy Harrington.

On Thursday, Fairlee spoke with FOX 61 over the phone. He said he was sad and disappointed by ICE's decision and didn't know of any action they could take to reverse it.

"I believe there should be more examination and inquiry into ICE policies and discretion. I wish there could be more protests and more awareness about what's going on," said Fairlee.

A group of supporters were outside of the federal building Thursday holding signs opposing Domingo's deportation. The East Hartford community also came out for a fundraiser recently for Ferriera's family.

The family continues to raise money on their GoFundme page to help with their expenses and Domingo's. He doesn't have anywhere to live in the Dominican Republic, no family over there and no way to get medication for his own health issues.