Saint Lucian man faces deportation from US on Monday as community rallies around him and his family

By Peter Francis, Eagle Tribune

(EAGLE TRIBUNE) — He has been living in Haverhill for roughly a decade with a wife and two children.

Now, Jacob Leonce, 45, is days away from being deported back to his home nation of St. Lucia, an island in the Caribbean.

When Leonce’s work visa wasn’t renewed in December at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Burlington, he was told he would have to self-deport back to St. Lucia, where he has not lived since 1999.

In response to Leonce’s situation, many in the Haverhill community and throughout the Merrimack Valley have spoken out on behalf of Leonce. A rally last Sunday at the Pelham, New Hampshire, Pentecostal church Leonce attends with his wife, Georgia, and sons, Jediah and Gerwin, drew a large number of parishioners and outside supporters who took up a collection for Leonce and his family.

While Leonce and his wife hail from the St. Lucian capital of Castries, home to 53,000 people, his 9- and 7-year-old sons Jediah and Gerwin were both born in Massachusetts.

“It’s been very stressful, but we’re still keeping the faith,” said Leonce Wednesday. “Relatives and friends have been visiting, praying and trying to assist as best they can.”

The Merrimack Valley Project, a Lawrence-based activist group, has been advocating on behalf of Leonce and members of the organization pleaded with Attorney General Maura Healey to help Leonce avoid deportation at a recent town hall forum at the Hunking School in Bradford.

Leonce said he will be traveling to Boston Thursday to meet with a lawyer referred to him by the attorney general’s office to discuss his situation. If he is deported Monday, he will return to St. Lucia and live with family in Castries.

“I’ll basically have to start over,” he said.

Attorney Paul Magliochetti, whose firm has been representing Leonce for the past three years, said that he is aware of the meeting with the attorney general’s office Thursday. Magliochetti said that he has contacted the city’s state and federal delegation, as well as attorneys specializing in immigration law, trying to help Leonce.

In a recent interview, Leonce said he has sought to become a legal U.S. citizen, but said that he has worked with several attorneys during his time in the United States who told him they could help him become a citizen but ended up doing little on his behalf.

Trevor LaFauci, an organizer with the Merrimack Valley Project, said Wednesday that a vigil is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 2 at the ICE facility in Burlington, where Leonce is scheduled to be detained ahead of his deportation on Monday, Feb. 5.

“It most likely will be the last time he will be allowed to see his family. Our Haverhill community will be losing a valuable churchgoer, worker, husband, and father as a result of our current immigration policies,” said LaFauci Wednesday.

At the recent town hall meeting with Healey, another Merrimack Valley Project organizer, Bill Taylor of Haverhill, told the attorney general that Leonce “doesn’t have any friends in the legal system right now” and asked her for her office’s help.

Asked about Leonce’s situation after the town hall, Taylor said he thought of his own family.

“I think of my daughters and how I would feel if my family was torn apart,” said Taylor. “A lot of people have a lot of opinions about folks who are undocumented. I just don’t think law enforcement should be going after these people.”

(39)(25)
This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

46 comments

  1. Can anyone tell me what's the latest on that matter?

    (1)(0)
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  3. Can anyone tell me what's the latest on that matter?

    (0)(0)
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  5. His wife is from Dennery, not Castries, and she is likely in the same situation as he. If she is, then she may be sent home too, and they will be reunited. All things will work out for good for those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purpose.

    (8)(0)
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  7. Let's not pretend that we don't know many St. Lucians who go to the US with a visa and overstay for years and hideout from the system. That makes it almost impossible to get a green card afterward. You can't break the law and not expect to have to continue breaking the law cover up your initial flouting of the law. Eventually, however, especially in the US, the law will catch up with you. How do I know he broke the law? If he was granted a work permit (temporary) it means that he was on a visitor or a work visa, but was not granted permission to stay indefinitely. His repeated denials of permanent residency suggest that he was not able to meet the requirements and was thus on borrowed time and allowed to stay on a temporary status visa. A work permit is not permitted to stay indefinitely no matter your criminal history. Your initial crime of overstaying the visa cannot be used in your favor. A work permit is just that, a permit that allows you to work while you stay temporarily in the country. 10 years is quite a long stay, and he should have pursued his residency status more vigorously. I'm sure he was determined in his search but it obviously was not vigorous enough. This is a very sad situation, but it is what it is.

    (9)(1)
    • Boiboi....or whatever your name is. All I read was a whole bunch of BS, that you know nothing of... I have news for you, idiot...St. Lucians are not the only group of people who come here and decide to overstay. If you have so much information and you know the law better than most, then your ass should be here, working Pro Bono for those in need. Shut up and sit down. In fact, have several seats, Sir or Madam.

      (5)(3)
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  9. What is so difficult for you St. Lucians to understand? The man has been there from 1999 on a work visa, visas are temporary and most work visas are for 1 year and has to be renewed at the discretion of the US government. What is the immigration status of his wife, is she also on a temporary work visa? Get real people!

    (6)(1)
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  11. The Laws and Regulation of a country or countries is to protect the interest of the country and citizens, and it is no respect of any persons. Please keep your emotions in check, and follow the law of the land, which is the Bible of the country. Respect due.

    (3)(1)
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  13. Land of opportunity is no more than a dream

    (1)(0)
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  15. One of many, the amount of Lucians that will be coming home this year. Thank you Trump

    (0)(13)
    • This is a very horrible and disgusting thing to say. I hope they show you that they can come home and make a better life for themselves.

      (2)(0)
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  17. I feel for this family..soooo very sad..praying an hoping that something different eill come up 😭😭😭😭

    (5)(1)
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  19. There is nothing wrong to want a new lifestyle is just the way we st.Lucian's operate.I dont understand y he has been there since 99 and y his wife did not give him papers for his stay.is she a us citizen.this man dont know that the us is not the same.to me he should have known about his status and should have worked on his documents.the states is not heaven so if god sees is not fit for u to stay there then he will not keep u.so comjn back home is where he needs sees fit for u.however his wife will just have to make arrangements to come look for her husband.we need to use wisdom.I pray this opens the eyes for other Lucian's who want to spoil their Lucian name.

    (4)(1)
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  21. Your home will always be your home. It welcomes you with open arms!If its meant to be it will be so don't worry...

    (40)(2)
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  23. Lovely Lucians, just keep your brother in your prayers. I'm Jamaican but living abroad but I lovvvvvvveeeeeeee Lucians so my heart goes out to him and naturally all my Caribbean people.
    Lets all think positive and pray for our brothers and sisters😙

    (39)(3)
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  25. That's the way all churches should rally around their members, particularly when in distress.

    (23)(3)
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  27. Listen Lucians if you stay in the US more than six months than what you are allowed, you will run into immigration difficulty. If you have a work permit that was not renewed, then you have no right to be in the country. Better use your visa for a few trips to Miami with your family. Save up for it and stay at a cheap hotel for a few days. Go to Walmart, do your shopping, send your barrells down. And come back home. This is what smart people do. Now you all have lawyers eating you all money for nothing. If you can get a legal route to the US, use it. No one not making my proud black self feel unwanted in their country. In fact if they send me back before my legal stay is over, I putting endless pressure on immigration to book me on the next flight out, because I'm going home to the Caribbean while they battle the cold , the meth habit and endless shit!

    (50)(12)
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  29. So sad but trump is a pig.

    (20)(4)
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  31. Anonymous are you an idiot or what, this guy is about to be torn apart from his family and that’s the only comment you can make? You hope he saved?

    (8)(11)
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  33. Patricia I am a St. Lucian

    While there are many people who are US citizens born here causing All kinds of disasters are given a slap on the hand. Here we have a good person causing no harm tried to do the right thing by seeking to become a US citizens did not get the help and now the only solution is DEPORTATION? Come on now.

    (31)(5)
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  35. Kmfsl lol

    (2)(9)
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  37. Sorry to hear..the kids will be divested. my god have mercy on us

    (10)(6)
    • divested???? please learn English.

      (10)(11)
    • New word "DIVESTED"

      (7)(8)
    • Not their fault.... Check out merriam-webster dictionary online.
      Definition of divest (transitive verb)
      1 a : to deprive or dispossess especially of property, authority, or title divesting assets to raise capital was divested of his rights divesting herself of all her worldly possessions encouraged the university to divest itself from fossil fuels
      b : to undress or strip especially of clothing, ornament, or equipment Christmas trees divested of their ornaments
      c : rid, free
      2 : to take away from a person

      (1)(1)
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  39. So what's the issue, is he a green card holder because the article stated he's been trying to get citizenship for a while but no luck. I am curious to learn more about his situation. Sir if you or anyone that knows you read my comment, please ping me at 202-904-3370. I am from St Lucia and practice US immigration law.

    (58)(6)
    • What state are you

      (1)(5)
    • I think he has a temporary work permit and last year they refused to renew it for him.I am praying that the Authorities in Mass.will find a way to keep him from separating from his family.Please let's keep our fingers crossed. Sealy from Babonneau.

      (1)(0)
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  41. Sad..may the good lord interven..Oh the kids will be crushed. 😔

    (10)(2)
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  43. That is why we should never make fun of or treat people who come to our shores hoping for a better life bad, because your family may very well be on their way back here. The bottom line is everybody has family and such tragic events open up and wounds that may never heal. Evil people will always be evil and St. Lucia has many, not caring adman about their fellow men, yet we say we Christian....... Pure Bull!

    (8)(4)
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  45. come home come home come homeeeeeeee all who are illegal come homeeeeee. if you in US saint lucia is calling , calling for you to come home.
    oh shalaballlaaaaa

    (19)(56)
    • The people who leaves Lucia leaves for a reason who wants to bring up their kids up in a undeveloped country where ignorance is bliss and common sense is not common... I urge every immigrant who has problems trying to get their papers marry someone... like the Spanish people do they married their brothers and sisters just to get their papers. I would not consider moving back home for that reason and in that order...Thank God#20yrs..

      (5)(12)
    • lool yall thought trump was playing.
      all trumpers and trumpets come back at yalll home tan.
      lets sing the chant again.
      Come homeeeee come homeee all who are illegal come homeeeeee. if you in US saint lucia is calling , calling for you to come home.
      come back to the dasheen and the green fig. come back to the saltfish and backs ohhhh shalaballaaaaa.

      (5)(10)
      • What does trump have to do with that?....you do know that this deportation thing has been going on longer than Truman's presidency?....Smh

        (1)(0)
    • What are you really saying? I am not sure , but it sound like you are happy because this gentleman is being sent home without his family. If you are remember that God said"how can you love me whom you have not seen and hate your brother"remember today for me and tomorrow is for you.stay blessed.

      (1)(1)
      • nope its none of that brother. if you were a vybe radio listener on face book live you would get the drift. that was when trump was talking his nonsense and none of us believed that it would come to pass.

        (0)(0)
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  47. Wow sad but that is the risk of trying to make a better life in a foreign country

    (21)(1)
    • That's the risk of being illegal. Hope he saved.

      (8)(10)
      • How was he illegal before, when he had a work permit?
        It just means that since his work permit was not renewed, he becomes illegal if he remains in the US.

        (24)(3)
        • My Dear a work permit means nothing it is just to show you can work in America. But I want to ask he's here from 99' how did he expect to get a green card if he is married or is his wife a citizen or green card holder? If she is why not file for him as soon as he came up? America is not like before we have to get our priorities together they already stopping the Grey Hound buses,Amtrak trains,and the nut in the White House ask for us to travel with our green cards,American passports flying from state to state. Be careful who you all marry for the green card also because they are looking into sham marriage also.

          (6)(2)
          • Can you even comprehend? With a work permit, was he illegal?

            It has nothing to do with what weighting a work permit has.
            Next time read to understand before quickly typing.

            (0)(0)

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