It has been a whirlwind of emotions for an East Hartford family who lost their sole caregiver earlier this year.
Husband, father and grandfather Domingo Ferreira was deported back to his country in February.
Eyewitness News was there in January when Ferreira was set to be deported, but he was granted some extra time.
Now the family is trying to adjust to a life without him.
“It was really a reminder at that moment, that wow. He is gone. This is life,” said Domingo’s wife Diane Ferreira.
Since he left in February, Domingo’s grandson Lucas was born. Domingo hasn’t met him in person yet, he’s only seen him on FaceTime.
“Taking the family picture without him was so difficult. I felt so guilty sending it to him because I knew he was missing,” Diane Ferreira said.
The only way the family can see each other is by iPad or cell phone.
Eyewitness News spoke with Domingo on Wednesday.
“I mean, it's never going to be the same, unless I get to live with my family again but it's been really tough,” he said.
He had been in the United States legally for 30 years, but stole a purse 12 years ago and did prison time.
He has also had his identity stolen, which put him on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s radar.
“He was here legally and feel used as a political figure to make a statement, let's get hard on crime. Let's get hard on immigrants,” Diane Ferreira said.
Domingo's wife, daughter, and granddaughter have been to the Dominican Republic since he left the U.S., but it's very different there. There's a lot of poverty and armed guards surround many areas.
“It's a very lawless country. Aside from the criminals themselves, people, for the most part, a huge percentage of them, it's very dangerous,” Diane Ferreira said.
Domingo lives about two-and-a-half hours from Santo Domingo. Power goes off multiple times a day.
“When he loses lights or internet, we can't speak and it's petrifying because we don't know did something happen to him? Or is there just no power?” Diane Ferreira said.
The family also shipped containers of clothing, food, and everyday items. When the bins got to Domingo, almost everything was gone.
“They robbed us of everything. Everything. He literally had no clothes but the clothes we had brought over,” Diane Ferreira said.
While they want to be with their loved one, Domingo’s wife and daughter have medical issues and can't move there.
The family says it has been a difficult year.
“Trying to adjust to this whole different lifestyle and not being able to see my family and now I have a grandson it's very huge not to be around. And everything breaking down in the house and not being able to take care of it is very hard,” Domingo said.
Domingo still hasn't found a job, as the job market is slim.
Construction workers make 600 pesos a day, which is about $12 to $15, so if he worked full time, that's only $300 a month. His rent is $288.
The family is hoping to see Domingo for Christmas and have him meet his grandson, but it's about $600 a ticket.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page, as they are hoping to raise money so they can set up a pizza shop in the Dominican Republic.
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