CHANDLER, AZ - It could be the final few hours in the United States for a Chandler man who is now facing the fear of deportation.
Andino Ferguson was 15 years old when he moved to the United States from the Bahamas. He overstayed a visitor visa and said he planned to apply for citizenship through his father who is a U.S. citizen.
Ferguson said due to lack of help from his father, along wiht personal struggles, that application process did not go through. He continued to stay in the U.S. to try to achieve his dream of playing for the NBA.
"America saved my life in many ways. My childhood was kind of tough in the Bahamas, I thought I could come to America and achieve my dreams," said Ferguson.
Despite doubts expressed by many people, the athletic, 6'9" tall man was able to finish high school and received three athletic scholarships that helped him get through college. Ferguson played semi-pro basketball for the Arizona Scorpions.
Ferguson said his immigration troubles started when his marriage started to fall apart. Ferguson said he failed to show up for an immigration hearing to adjust his marriage status and the judge ordered his deportation.
Ferguson stressed he did not know about the court date.
Now living in Chandler, ICE officials paid him a visit this week, to ask him to turn himself in. Ferguson was told to check in to ICE headquarters on Thursday.
While his lawyer is fighting to appeal the process and get an extension, he has warned Ferguson to be prepared for detention.
Ironically, the day he has to check in is also the day Ferguson was about to achieve another one of his American dreams, of becoming a musician. Thursday night, Ferguson is scheduled to perform live at a bar in Tempe, but now that might not happen if he is detained.
"I feel so hurt because I really love America. There are bad people in this country but I am not one of them."
Ferguson was tearful as he tried to figure out what he would do and where he would go on an island that suffered a lot of devastation after Hurricane Irma.
"Today may be my last day in America. I have been crying non-stop. My heart is overwhelmed, my eyes are swollen. I'm extremely scared for my life. I know I am a good person, and I just want everyone else to know," said Ferguson.
He expressed faith in President Donald Trump and his administration saying he hoped they would hear personal stories from people like himself.
"I know he has a heart. No matter what people may think about the President, I still have hope in him. I would like for him to know there are great people here in this country that's been doing great things. There are bad people and they should be deported — but not everyone is bad," said Ferguson.
Ferguson said he had an open DUI case but he was not been convicted.
ICE officials have said their focus is to remove those with felony criminal convictions and final orders of deportation.