Protests for Saint Martin from Haiti who awaits deportation because of DACA’s broken promise
By Ramona du Houx
Demonstrators representing more than a dozen social activist groups, said that they were protesting federal inspections by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents, and wanted to highlight the potential deportation of Lexius Saint Martin. They protested in Bangor and Waterville, Maine.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement picked up Saint Martin, a Haitian man from Waterville last month. His supporters got out their phones and left messages for members of Maine's congressional delegation, requesting their help. The activists want Maine's congressional delegation to enact legislation to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program- DACA.
Saint Martin came to the United States as an 11-year-old boy. His status was protected under DACA, until President Trump terminated last September.
“We have Mainers being detained by ICE, we have the dreamers being used as a bargaining chip in D.C.” said Marie Follayttar Smith, a co-founder of Mainers for Accountable Leadership. “We need to show up and speak out and say that we do not tolerate this.”
Saint Martin received lawful permanent resident status in 1996. But nine years ago he was convicted of a drug trafficking offense, for which he served seven months in jail. Despite a spotless record since then, he’s now at risk of being permanently separated from his pregnant wife and two young sons, who are all U.S. citizens. A homeowner and business owner, Saint Martin is his family's sole financial provider.
“My family should not be going through this horrible situation,” said John Reynolds, Saint Martin's brother-in-law from Oakland.
Democratic State Sen. Shenna Bellows of Manchester, who formerly served as the executive director of the ACLU of Maine, was at the protest in Waterville. She said members of Maine's congressional delegation have the power to bring a private bill to stop Saint Martin's deportation.
“This is personal,” said a tearful Sen. Bellows. “This is about their unborn daughter, their two young sons. It's about a large family. It's about all of us. It's not just about Lexius or his redemption. It's about our redemption.”
Many said they are outraged at the thought of breaking up a family.
“It helps nobody, and it victimizes the family and the kids, and it's just horrific,” said Andi Parkinson of Monmouth.