HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man whose wife and daughter are seriously ill was taken into custody Thursday for deportation to the Dominican Republic because of a 12-year-old conviction for stealing a purse.
Domingo Ferreira appeared in federal court in Hartford, where family and friends gathered outside to support him. It wasn't immediately clear when he will be deported.
The 44-year-old East Hartford resident came to the U.S. 30 years ago as a teenager and had a green card, but never applied for citizenship, said his lawyer, Chester Fairlie.
The Journal Inquirer newspaper reported Ferreira's wife, Diane, has an inoperable brain tumor and his 23-year-old daughter, Baceida, recently underwent chemotherapy for possible liver or pancreatic cancer. His wife and three adult children were born in the U.S.
Ferreira came under scrutiny from immigration officials several years ago when someone stole his identity and committed several crimes. Police determined that Ferreira wasn't involved in those crimes, but his 2005 felony larceny convictions were brought back to attention of immigration authorities.
Before that, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had taken no action on Ferreira despite his convictions, Fairlie said. Ferreira served about nine months in jail.
"This is a very unfortunate result for the family, for Domingo," Fairlie said. "Domingo was working and being a family man."
Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a statement saying it considered Ferreira a "danger to public safety" because of multiple larceny offenses, which put him in the "aggravated felon" category under immigration law. The statement did not include details of the multiple offenses.
The agency noted Ferreira's 2015 deportation order was twice delayed, in December and January, to allow him to get his affairs in order.
"ICE will proceed with carrying out the lawfully ordered removal," the statement said.