After legal fight to stay, St. Lucian man deported from the USA

By Peter Francis

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(EAGLE-TRIBUNE) — On Monday, Jacob Leonce, a 45-year old man originally from St. Lucia who has lived in the city for close to a decade, was deported back to the Caribbean Island from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Burlington.

Leonce, a married father of two sons who were born in Haverhill, was first notified in December by immigration authorities that renewal of his work visa was being denied and that he would be deported in February.

Since December, local activists, congregants at Leonce’s church and state legislators have worked to try and keep Leonce in Massachusetts. But their efforts turned out to be for naught, as Leonce was sent back to his home nation Monday after being held over the weekend at ICE’s Burlington facility, the same place his work visa was denied a renewal.

Haverhill Attorney Paul Magliochetti, whose law firm had been working to keep Leonce in the United States, said Tuesday Leonce had dealt with attorneys since immigrating to the United States in 1999, none of whom provided him with the proper assistance in becoming a legal citizen.

“The unfortunate thing about the whole process is that he’s tried to play by the rules,” said Magliochetti.

When Leonce arrived in Burlington Friday with his family, his attorney Thomas Tretter, and members of the New England Pentecostal Church in Pelham, New Hampshire, Magliochetti said authorities gave Leonce his passport and the plane tickets he had purchased previously to head back to St. Lucia.

“He could’ve just skipped town but he didn’t. How many of the ‘criminals’ or ‘bad guys’ they’re trying to deport would do that?” he said.

Magliochetti said his firm is still assisting Leonce’s wife Georgia, and sons Jediah and Gerwin. He has spoken with Haverhill School Superintendent James Scully as well as the principal of the boy’s school about Leonce’s situation.

For now, Magliochetti said his office is still working on Leonce’s behalf to try and find a way to bring him back to the United States.

Asked about whether there is any recourse for Leonce, Magliochetti said federal immigration law prohibits individuals who have been deported from the United States from reapplying for citizenship for 10 years, barring extremely rare circumstances.

“The real hope lies in Washington,” said Magliochetti. “When they are negotiating these laws, they need to find a way to allow people in Jacob’s situation to return to the country.

“I’ve tried to relay this message to our state and federal delegation, but in the meantime, we’ll continue to advocate on Jacob’s behalf,” continued Magliochetti.

Trevor LaFauci, an organizer with the Merrimack Valley Project, a Lawrence-based immigrant rights organization, said Tuesday that the group is working to assist Jacob’s wife and children during this difficult time, connecting them with other local organizations which can provide them with social services.

He added that Leonce’s situation, sadly, is far from unique in the region.

“We’re working with others at this time, instances where one partner or both partners are undocumented but their children were born here and are thus U.S. citizens,” said LaFauci.

The Merrimack Valley Project is also speaking with legislators about passing the Safe Communities Act, a bill proposed by Lawrence state Rep. Juana Matias, which would limit the amount of cooperation between local and state police and federal immigration authorities.

(11)(43)
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23 comments

  1. I think he sad cuz all he can think of is washing by hand peeling green figs and the pit toilet lol

    (0)(0)
  2. my friend has been deported today back to st lucia after living here 18 yrs. (London ).he has a daughter here.after 2 years of legal struggle; the home office has done against their OWN LAWS and rules. I'm shocked and very ANGRY. WHAT will I say to his mother this afternoon? ??..thank you for listening.

    (0)(0)
  3. You should've run, and let Trump come and find you bwoy. Lucia nice though, except Vieux Fort cause Chastenet selling all the land, you go be good doh worry.

    (1)(0)
  4. Never forget where ur from and ur past USA is not for me.

    (2)(1)
  5. Your blessing is coming your way my brother that can't keep you back

    (3)(0)
  6. These are the same Americans who applying sanction on people for human Rights violation. A man does not have a right to raise his children ? Those Americans have no empathy. They wicked and heartless.

    (7)(4)
  7. What I will say to this, sometimes terrible and disappointing things happen and when we look back on later, we are even grateful. Many of us look at these countries as the being so good. but forget that we have some good things going on too. I met an african grandmother in NY and we got to talking. and she told me the story of how many of her African friends kids are now sending their kids back home to be educated there while they young because the exposure to the non black culture can mess them up bad. so when they get to a certain more responsible age, they come back for college. they recognise that this culture even with its advantages not easy for us black people. now how many of us know our own caribbean people who get up to all kinds of things up here that they would not do at home. the africans smart. they know the value of exposing their children to their culture. many of us when we go abroad, we dont encourage our own children to see the life we left behind. when it could do so much good for them. so all is not lost. those who come back can have a good life here...

    (17)(1)
  8. come home come home all who illegal come homeeee.
    if you in U.S saint lucia is calling calling for you to come homeeeee.

    boy when kiedel and pringles made that song after i laugh

    (9)(10)
  9. Typical lucian response blah blah blah blah and no action. Just want to hear our voices. Not one of you was there to greet this brother and show him a warm welcome home and that he has people who support him at home. Yeah that would actually take some effort some sacrifice on our part, but instead we do the easiest as always, just more useless talk. That is one of the major issues facing lucia and is responsible for where we are now. We think once we have been part of the ray ray ray ray talk then we have done our part and we move on to the next ro ro.

    (7)(11)
  10. Everything happen for a reason who knows by then you would have been dead thank god for life u back in your home town find a way to bring your family down

    (18)(2)
  11. Sometimes systems favour the dishonest over legally abiding persons. I wish this man nothing but the best. Do not allow this situation to have you feeling hopeless. One day you will be reunited with your family. We should never laugh at anyone's situation. We never know what the future holds. All the best, sir!

    (31)(2)
  12. It is a great cruelty to forcefully separate a man from his family. He lives by the rules and contributes, let the man stay with his family. Fking 'Murica man.

    (8)(1)
  13. come home my brother come home. come home to the land of green fig and salt fish, the land of the backs, the dasheen and the yamm and ohhh all what that is saint lucian come home .

    oh shalaballa.....

    (6)(9)
  14. February 08

    New Testament Verse of the Day:
    "I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you've received it, it will be yours."

    –Mark 11:24

    (10)(2)
  15. SAD... Hard luck; he did try the legal way.

    (5)(2)
  16. Leave that hateful country alone and let it burn!

    (8)(5)
  17. Not right, but what can I say

    (3)(1)
  18. Sorry brother. Hope you was helping your family in St. Lucia, for many only remember people back home when they need them. Also hope you was saving your money. Good luck.

    (6)(3)
  19. Jackass !! Nice guys finish last timid Lucians a Jamaican would run a Trini would run a Mexican would run. Before you run go to a sanctuary city like New York divorce the wife that obviously can't help you because she has no papers herself collect a jabal with papers pay her divorce in a year and a half claim domestic abuse and call Brad Bernstein and have him work on your papers to adjust you status and go back to your wife. As long as you can show "date of landing" their is hope. Is when you come in on other peoples papers and you can't show "legitimate" landing is when you are finish, plenty of them up there when you see they never or can't come back that's the problem. I hope he was going to Western Union every pay day to send a ting down to deposit back home. Now you have to leave, ICE hold you backside, you was in church waving your hand the pastor can't help you nobody can help you 10 to 15yrs before you can get a visa again the wife can't come down, so she find Joe Grind to do the work the children calling him daddy woooie . Was is worth not running Jacob ?? Really ??

    (10)(14)
    • You just kill me with laughter...But to be honest you speak the gospel truth, the wife is under surveillance also she better be smart they will send her home and the kids will be back when they are eighteen.

      (1)(0)
    • I feel like I should answer for Jacob, a man I don't know but you seem to know. I am effing proud that Jacob did not run like a Jamaican, Trini or Mexican but he that Lucian boy stayed and stared this US court in the face and take the consequences. You see ,unlike you, Jacob know that in our country he not running from gangs and poverty like in Mexico and Jamaica, he not hiding behind locked gates like in Trini with curfew at anytime. He Lucian. So I live that with you my dear, a woman who does not know Jacob or his wife:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FZ_5I4xWhc

      (2)(2)
    • THANKS, BUT THE DEVIL IS A LIAR
      THE BLOOD OF JESUS.

      (0)(1)
  20. ... ... wow!! Smh! Where there's a will there's a way... America is not a BED OF ROSES. .. like many think! I'm a U.S citizen and EVERYDAY I miss my homeland ST LUCIA!!... my brother keep your head up.. and look for the light at the end of the tunnel!

    (21)(2)

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