Monday, February 12, 2001

Man deported to Brazil trying to make new life

The Associated Press

        AKRON — A man deported to Brazil in November because of a marijuana conviction said he's trying to make a new life for himself while staying in touch with his American family.

        Nancy Saunders and Jim Herbert adopted Joao Herbert when he was 8. They decided not to have him naturalized until he could understand how special it was to become a U.S. citizen.

        Mr. Herbert, now 22, was arrested with two friends in 1997 for selling 7 1/2 ounces of marijuana to an undercover Wadsworth, Ohio, police agent. He was convicted of trafficking in marijuana and put on probation.

        While at a drug rehabilitation center, Mr. Herbert learned that the Immigration and Naturalization Service was seeking to have him deported under a 1996 law that made any noncitizen convicted of anything but the most minor offense subject to mandatory deportation.

        After his first few days in Brazil, where he was warmly welcomed, given shelter and treated to meals in nice restaurants, Mr. Herbert thought living there might not be so hard.

        “I look forward to meeting people and living a good life in Brazil,” he told the Akron Beacon Journal.

        After an initial stay at a homeless shelter, Mr. Herbert moved in with a Brazilian family in Campinas, near Sao Paolo, and began teaching English and working for an import/export company.

        His parents have been trying to send him money each month to help with room and board. His mother has been communicating with Mr. Herbert through e-mail and infrequent phone calls.


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