A Donegal father who was deported from the U.S. has launched a Facebook campaign in a bid to be reunited with his young son.
Paul Ferguson, 28, told the Inishowen News that he is forced to watch his son Dylan grow up on the computer during weekly Skype sessions.
Originally from Buncrana, Ferguson was deported from San Francisco in 2011, when his son was six weeks old. After an altercation on a flight from Seattle to San Francisco he was arrested and deported back to Ireland on the 20th of January 2011. The Irish immigrant had been living in the U.S. for four years after he overstayed a holiday visa.
In the past two years, he has seen his son three times during brief vacation stints to Ireland with his mother.
“We are not together anymore but I could not wish for a better mother for my son,” said Ferguson.
“She is giving me a lifeline to Dylan and she is raising him to be independent, smart and strong.”
His dream is to be allowed to live and work in San Francisco, to be near his adored child.
The Donegal man emigrated to Australia last October to find work. Now living in Perth, he says he pines for his son, whom he describes as “the light of his life,” every day.
“At this stage, I’m afraid I’m becoming a stranger to Dylan. When he hears my Irish accent on Skype he says ‘hello Daddy’, but it’s very difficult.”
The 28-year-old has launched a Facebook campaign called ‘To Reunite a Father with his Son.’
"The amount of supportive messages I have been getting from people all over the world has been unbelievable."
On the Facebook page, Ferguson explains he came under the attention of police for misdemeanour offences and was deported back to Ireland.
“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,” Ferguson said.
"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.”
Happy Earth Day! Ireland sure looks gorgeous from outer space