**UPDATE: After a decade of fighting his deportation case, GovernorNortham of Virginia granted Roland a pardon, opening up an opportunity for him to close his case once and for all.**
Roland Sylvain is a beloved father, husband and son to U.S. citizens who moved from Haiti to the U.S as a green card holder when he was just 7 years old and has lived in the U.S. for over 35 years. Roland is known as the anchor of his family.
Roland’s family and home are in the United States. His parents are both naturalized citizens who emigrated from Haiti to build a better life for their family. Roland’s mother is a licensed practical nurse and his father is a recently retired school bus driver. After saving up from their hard work, Roland’s parents purchased a home in Piscataway, NJ, where Roland grew up with his brother Carl and sister Cristina. Roland and his wife Lilly are both frontline workers who have stepped up to serve their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite Roland’s strong family ties and many contributions to the community, he is now facing deportation because of Virginia convictions that are nearly 2 decades old. In 2002, Roland and his family were driving to Florida for a vacation when they were pulled over for speeding. Everyone was ordered out of the car and an officer issued Roland three traffic tickets. In a moment of panic because his license was suspended, Roland signed someone else’s name on the tickets. Roland immediately confessed what he’d done, but it didn’t matter; the officer charged him with forging public records for each ticket. Roland pleaded guilty at the advice of a defense attorney who was later disbarred, and without being advised of the immigration consequences of his plea and sentence. He never served any time in jail. After his conviction, Roland moved on, started a family, and developed expertise in quality assurance. He had no idea that his guilty plea and sentence would change his life forever.
In 2011, Roland was placed in deportation proceedings. Immigration officials argued that Roland’s Virginia convictions from ten years earlier were “aggravated felonies” and that he should be deported without the immigration court considering how long he’s lived in the U.S., his family ties, or his contributions to community. In 2014, Roland’s case was temporarily closed, a recognition of the compelling circumstances of his case. Roland thought he would be able to put this legal nightmare behind him. But in 2018, Roland’s case was reopened under guidance from the Trump Administration. Roland is now again confronted with the threat of exile and permanent separation from his family and community.
We’re determined to keep Roland home. A pardon from Governor Northam of Virginia could prevent Roland’s deportation.
To learn more about Roland’s case, click here.
Join us in taking action to #KeepRolandHome!
Roland's Story in the Atlantic
Read about Roland's Story and the 1996 Immigration Laws that got us here.