ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A 24-year-old native of Haiti — who has lived in the U.S. since he was a baby — says he is in immigration limbo after returning to the island.
The Orlando Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/2pJfsWv) Henry Dorvil needed to briefly return to Haiti to straighten out his immigration status after unwittingly failing to renew his temporary protected status, which allowed him to stay in the U.S. But Dorvil has been stranded Haiti since December.
This month, Dorvil’s friends started a “Help Henry” campaign to urge U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to speed up his immigration process.
They launched a Facebook page and posted “Help Henry” posters downtown. Also, more than 75 Sanford business owners and residents have sent letters to the federal government pleading for Dorvil’s case to be expedited.
Dorvil had recently moved into his first apartment in the Orlando suburb. His new video production business was taking on new clients and growing quickly.
But all of that’s on hold.
In Haiti, he’s is living without running water, electricity and little access to the internet as he awaits documents — which could take 18 months to obtain — that would allow him to return to the U.S. as a legal resident.
“I was shocked because I wanted to follow the correct procedure,” Dorvil said from Limbe, Haiti, a city of 33,000 about 130 miles north of the capital, Port-au-Prince. He said he returned to Haiti to get his paperwork in order because as an immigrant in the U.S. “there’s a lot of things you can’t do,” and he wanted to build his business and attend college.
“Our whole community really wants him back,” said Christina Hollerbach, whose family owns the popular downtown Willow Tree CafΘ restaurant. “We’re all working together to get him home. . He always has such a good attitude about life.”
Many in the community call the energetic Dorvil “the hardest-working man in Sanford” for his ambitious drive in launching his own company while holding down several part-time jobs and doing volunteer work.
Dorvil arrived in the U.S. from Haiti in 1993 when he was 5 months old with his family, who sought political asylum after a military coup.
His father became a naturalized U.S. citizen and now lives in Fort Lauderdale. His mother obtained legal citizenship and lives in Orlando. His older sister is also a naturalized U.S. citizen, and his American-born brother, serves in the U.S. Marine Corps in Hawaii.
Dorvil, however, had been living in the U.S. under temporary protected status that has been offered to Haitian nationals by the federal government since 2010. It’s the same program that allows about 500 Walt Disney World employees to remain and work in the U.S. However, the Trump administration has said it may soon end the program.
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