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Deported father in plea to see son 01.04.13

by Linda McGrory

A YOUNG father has described his torment at being torn from his baby son's life after being deported from the US as an illegal immigrant.
Paul Ferguson (28) says he is now forced to watch toddler Dylan grow up "on computer" during their weekly Skype sessions.
Paul, from Buncrana was expelled from San Francisco, California, in 2011 when his only child was just six weeks old.
He has only seen the youngster - now two years and four months - three times since and for only a week at a time.
These precious weeks were made possible by the "kindness" of Dylan's American-born mother who has made the three trips to Ireland - most recently last Christmas - to reunite father and son. She also keeps the 28-year old up-to-date with Dylanís progress in daily texts and emails.
"We are not together anymore but I could not wish for a better mother for my son," said Paul.
"She is giving me a life-line to Dylan and she is raising him to be independent, smart and strong,Ē said Paul.
Paul emigrated for work to Perth, Australia, last October and says he pines for his son "the light of (his) life" every day. He made the long trip home to see Dylan in Buncrana at Christmas.
Paul Ferguson with his son, Dylan.
He says his is just one of many heartbreaking stories of emigrant families being "ripped apart" by deportation.
He has launched a Facebook campaign ĎTo Reunite a Father with his Soní and has been contacted by other fathers who are suffering in silence. "At this stage Iím afraid Iím becoming a stranger to Dylan. When he hears my Irish accent on Skype he says 'hello Daddy' but it's very difficult.
ďAfter the call, I am so upset it takes me half and hour to come around. I miss him every single day," he added.
"The amount of supportive messages I have been getting from people all over the world has been unbelievable."
Paul, who works as an air-conditioning installer in Perth, says he is being denied his human rights as a parent. He also says he was devastated by the American deportation system.
"Everybody who goes through deportation feels so degraded and dehumanised by the whole ordeal," he adds.
Paul first visited California on a ninety-day holiday visa in 2005. He moved there permanently a year-and-a-half later and met Dylan's mum in 2008. His dream is to be allowed live and work in San Franscisco to be near his adored child.
Paul Ferguson with his son, Dylan.
He says he has written letters to Irish and US politicians including Taoiseach Enda Kenny, President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton. He believes the Irish Government is not doing enough to help the estimated 50,000 undocumented citizens in the States.
"In 2011, I went to the US embassy in Dublin and applied for a visa to go back to see my child as my democratic human right. I was categorically denied." He says he came away believing he might only be granted temporary access to America if his son was terminally ill. The US Embassy declined to comment. "We do not comment on individual cases," said a spokesman. Meanwhile, the Co Donegal man is determined to continue his campaign.
"This is tearing me apart but I will not give up the fight. I have to hold out hope and believe there is some humanity in the world.
"If all else fails, at least my son will know how much I love him and how hard I tried to get back to him.Ē
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