East Hartford family reflects on 6 months since deportation

EAST HARTFORD – Life has gone on for Diane Ferreira of East Hartford and her family, but it’s not the life they imagined. Their world was shattered six months ago, when Domingo Ferreira, the family’s patriarch and primary caregiver, was deported.

“I mean nobody understands what we’re going through, “said Diane Ferreira. “Everything has changed. Everything.”

Domingo Ferreira came to Connecticut from the Dominican Republic when he was just a teenager. He was deported due to a crime he committed 12 years ago that included a larceny charge for which he served time. It caught the attention of ICE years later after another man stole Ferreira's identity and committed other crimes under his name.

After being grants two 30-day stays, he was deported on February 2.

Diane said, “he’s missing out. He’s not here and wants nothing more than to be here.”

The biggest event he’s missed is the birth of his grandson. Diane and Domingo’s daughter Jocelyne had a son named Lucas in May, who has yet to meet his grandfather.

“I had to pretty much give birth without my dad there. It was really hard,” said Jocelyne Ferreira.

“I was trying to imagine what he was going through because that’s his grandson. Obviously he wanted to be there. He wanted to be there. He would if he could,” she said through tears.

Diane has been to the Dominican Republic to visit her husband just three times since he was deported. The rest of their family has been able to visit even less.

“At the end of the day, we come home. We live our life. We’re together. He’s alone,” said Diane.

She said she tries to FaceTime or call Domingo every few hours. Part of that is to make sure that he is safe over there where she said they’ve witnessed riots in the streets.

She said she would love for him to move to a safer part of the Dominican Republic, but they can’t afford it. They’re paying to maintain two households and all of those expenses, plus new travel expenses so they can see each other. They continue to accept donations through a GoFundme page to help them get by.

“I have one more trip paid for and planned and then that’s it. The reality is I don’t know when I’ll get back to see my husband,” said Diane.

During an interview via FaceTime, Domingo told FOX61 he is still struggling to accept this new life away from his family.

“It’s hard to get used to it,” said Domingo. “My family is over there. I’m over here, you know. I’m a family man, so I want to be where my family is.”

He said, “It’s like a nightmare that I’m never gonna wake up from.”