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Deportation delayed for East Hartford man

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The deportation of Domingo Ferreira was postponed on Monday, according to federal officials. (WFSB) The deportation of Domingo Ferreira was postponed on Monday, according to federal officials. (WFSB)
EAST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The deportation of an East Hartford man was postponed on Monday, according to federal officials. 

Domingo Ferreira, who has been in the United States as a legal resident for the past 30 years, was set to be deported on Tuesday to the Dominican Republic because of a crime he committed years ago.

"Somebody that you've spent your life with since 17, I'm never going to see again," Domingo's wife Diane Ferreira said. "I just want a few weeks." 

After losing two-full time jobs and getting hurt on the job, Domingo Ferreira turned to painkillers 12 years ago. Ferreira stole a wallet and a purse. He was convicted on a larceny charge and did jail time.

After that, his family thought this was in the past. But the Ferreiras said it re-emerged a few years ago after someone stole Domingo's identity. ICE, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, deported the criminal, thinking it was Domingo Ferreira. When the Ferreiras tried to clear up that confusion, Domingo's past resurfaced. Under a federal law passed in 1996, that larceny he was convicted of, is classified as an "aggravated felony," something that could get those viewed as "lawful permanent residents" deported.

"That's what makes our story so incredulous," Diane Ferreira said. "It's the fact that he is here legally." 

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal reached out to ICE and asked officials there to reconsider the decision. ICE officials told Blumenthal’s office that they have delayed Ferreira’s deportation for 30 days.

"This is not the end of our story, this is just the beginning," Diane Ferreira said.

While there's relief, there's anxiety. That's because on Tuesday, Domingo Ferreira will still need to report to ICE offices, not knowing what will happen when he walks through those doors. 

"I still have to report with all my documents tomorrow and I don't know the certainty of that, if I will come out of the building," Domingo Ferreira said. 

Ferreira said he's the only caretaker in his family. Diane Ferreira has an inoperable brain tumor. Their daughter is undergoing chemotherapy and Domingo Ferreira suffers from diabetes. The thought that his family might be ripped apart is unbearable.

"A lot of anxiety, a lot of unknown, a lot of what ifs," Domingo Ferreira said. 

The family Christmas tree still sits in a box. Knowing this could be their last holiday together, the Ferreiras said it's too painful to assemble. In need of a Christmas miracle, the Ferreiras said the only hope they have is a pardon from Gov. Dannel Malloy or an immigration attorney to get these 30 days extended indefinitely. Right now, they don't have either.

"I don't want to say we're not thankful or we're not blessed, I don't want to take away from that," Diane Ferreira said. "But, at the end of the 30 days, we're facing the same sentence." 

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