My future son-in-law, Robby, is an American Dreamer. He was brought to the U.S. from Trinidad by his parents when he was 12 and has lived a typical "under-the-radar" life like so many hundreds of thousands of kids and young adults who were born someplace other than the U.S.
America is the only home he has. His memories of Trinidad are few. He has no relatives he can rely on if he lands in Trinidad with no money, job or connections. He grew up in Queens, NY and that was his home for most of 14 years.
About three years ago Robby met and fell in love with my daughter, DeDe. He impressed DeDe's dad and I as a hardworking, entrepreneurial and thoroughly optimistic young man. He was kind and considerate to everyone. He treated us, and most importantly, our daughter, with respect. We understood that his work options were limited by his immigration status, but he and DeDe seemed to feel that they could settle down and open their own business once they were married and had taken care of Robby's immigration status.
That would have been the plan except for one small thing. A couple years before he met DeDe Robby was arrested for a crime he did not commit. Police officers convinced him that he would be sitting in jail for 2-3 years just waiting for a trial if he did not plead guilty to a lesser charge. He did not believe he could survive in jail for that long and so he plead guilty to something he did not do and was soon released on good behavior. Who wouldn't do the same thing in similar circumstances?
I am certain Robby never knew that by pleading guilty to this charge he might forever be prohibited from remaining in the U.S.
In January 2012 Robby was a passenger in a vehicle that slid through an intersection in the sleet in Chicago. The police carded everyone and because Robby had no ID he was taken in and held without charge. He has remained in the hands of the INS ever since. So far his attorney's legal arguments have not been enough to get him released, but we remain hopeful.
They are now appealing on humanitarian grounds. Two years ago Robby was in a very serious accident that eventually took the life of his best friend. Robby had collapsed lungs, a lacerated liver, and he lost his spleen. He was in the hospital for two weeks with my daughter and a number of friends constantly at his side. Because of this accident, if Robby does not have readily accessible medical care he could die from the effects of his injuries. Being sent back to Trinidad could easily endanger his life.
If Robby is deported this country will lose two hardworking and entrepreneurial young people because my daughter will follow him. My heart breaks for this situation and that we may lose forever two very much loved members of our family.
If you can find it within your heart and your budget to help Robby out funds are needed immediately to file paperwork so Robby and DeDe can get married and they can petition for a change of Robby's status. This needs to be completed before a final deportation order is issued. Then, without some cash if and when they land in Trinidad it will be very difficult for them to survive until the find work.
DeDe and her immediate family are doing what they can to take care of the financial burden of Robby's incarceration by ICE, but it is not enough to take care of the immediate needs.
The next phase will take help from others. It is imperative that DeDe be able to apply for a change of status for Robby while they are both in this country. That will take $1500 we and DeDe don't have. Beyond that, money raised will go to paying legal expenses and travel expenses should the worst happen and Robby and DeDe end up in Trinidad. Without the support I fear for both their lives in that rough part of the world!
We thank you for your support!
- Mike & Julie Dugo
- Kyle Lucid
- Faye Duff