Respected Atlanta Resident Detained & Deported By I.C.E. After Returning From Conference
Atlanta based resident, Jean-Francois, popularly known in the community as DULA, was detained by Customs & Border Patrol on February 13, 2019. After being held for two (2) months at the Montgomery Processing Center, he was deported on May 7 2019 to Haiti. DULA has been a resident of the United States since the age of three, a lawful permanent resident card-holder for over thirty eight (38) years and had never been to Haiti prior to his deportation.
DULA has been an active member of the Caribbean community in Atlanta for decades. Outside of his work managing various events in the city, he is also an active community leader who engaged and mentored many youths especially immigrant youth who were trying to navigate their way in their newly adopted home. He has led many initiatives to assist the less fortunate. He is also the care-taker for his mother, a US citizen, who lives in Atlanta.
On February 11th , 2019, DULA made a decision to travel to London for a conference, totally unaware of what was waiting for him on his return. On February 13th as he returned to the United States via the George W Bush airport in Houston, Texas he was detained by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and his life has been irreversibly changed since.
Here is a timeline of the events that lead to Jean-Francois’ detention and subsequent deportation.
- Born in the Bahamas to Haitian natives
- 1981-Parents immigrated to the United States
- 1983- Obtained lawful residency
- 1986- Moved to Atlanta
- 1998- nonviolent convictions under first offenders
- 2006- nonviolent convictions under first offenders
- 2019- On Feb 11th, he traveled to London England for a mobility conference entitled ‘MOVE’
- 2019 –On Feb 13, he returned to the U.S via GWB Airport and was detained by CBP
- 2019- Feb-April he was housed for 2 months @ Montgomery Detention Center in Conroe, Texas
- 2019- Dula retained lawyer that did not visit him at the facility and who never called him to review the case
- 2019- Two (2) Court appearances within duration of detention
- 2019- On May 7 Dula was deported to Haiti- a place he had never been before.
Immigration has no statute of limitation and can open any sealed case for review. Had Dula traveled through any other airport, he would not have been detained and deported. The dated immigration system, has trapped many people because of minor infractions on their records. These infractions are used to justify deportation.
WHAT COMES NEXT:
- Jean Francois suggests that concerned citizens petition local, state and federal governments to take a closer look into these cases in which punitive actions borderline double jeapordy and infringes on the rights of a lawful resident.
- He also encourages residents and citizens alike to review their immigration status and contact a lawyer to understand how an infraction on your record whether two decades or two days old can affect your ability to travel.
Jean Francois is passionate about spreading information about his circumstances so others can learn from it. As he starts the uphill batlle to return to the place that he calls home, he cannot help but reflect on how many across the country have been victimized by this dated immigration infrastructure that has essentially turned immigration status into a weapon.
For more information on Immigrant Rights Go To: ACLU
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