News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Jan. 28, 2021: A Saint Martin-born man has been spared deportation because of the intervention of a freshman US congressman.
US Congressman Mondaire Jones intervened and helped save Paul Pierrilus from being deported to Haiti, his parents’ homeland that he has never lived in.
Pierrilus is a financial consultant who emigrated to the US at the age of 5 with his Haitian-born parents. He was born in the French territory of St. Martin but is not a citizen there as the French Caribbean island does not have birthright citizenship.
He also has no citizen status in Haiti even though the Donald Trump administration was ready to deport him there before Congressman Mondaire and his team stepped in and were able to remove him from the plane just minutes before take-off. That came after the congressman’s office found the Department of Homeland Security had not approved travel documents.
“We have an immigration system where attorneys, advocacy organizations, and members of Congress must work on a case-by-case basis to work miracles in order to obtain justice for clients and constituents,” Jones was quoted by the Washington Post as saying. “That is no way to run an immigration system.”
Pierrilus, 40, a Spring Valley, NY native, had garnered the attention of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement due to drug offenses. ICE also attempted to deport his brother, Daniel Pierrilus, in 2006. According to the family, Haitian officials sent him back when he arrived at Port au-Prince.
President Joe Biden has committed to delaying deportations for at least the first 100 days of his term.
Jones, 33, is a congressman from New York’s 17th District. His resolution of the complex situation is just one example of the impact he’s already had. His election to Congress in November made history as he’s one of the first two openly gay, Black members of Congress elected last year.
*Rewritten from the Washington Post