Connecticut ICE Detainee Freed After Years in Custody

The case of Marvin Thompson raised state sovereignty questions

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Persistence, and help from Connecticut’s attorney general, paid off for a Bridgeport man who has spent a majority of the past seven years in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.

Marvin Thompson, 37, has been tasting freedom once again, after a judge said ICE was wrong to disregard his criminal pardon so it could deport him.

Thompson finally got back home with friends and family when the judge has ruled ICE can not deport him to Jamaica.

“It’s never over til it’s over but I believe it’s to an end,” Thompson said.

Thompson said he moved to Connecticut in 1997 when he was 14 to be with his father in Stamford.  “I attended West Hill High School.  That’s where I actually got into a fight with a fellow schoolmate and that’s when I got the charge.”

A 2000 criminal charge that Thompson said would haunt him years later.

Even though he served his three-year probation sentence, and was gainfully employed, he said ICE agents tried to use it to detain him and begin deportation proceedings, first in 2012, and more recently in March 2017.

Thompson added he gained a pardon from the state Board of Pardons and Paroles in December 2017, but says ICE would not waive his deportation.

CT Attorney General William Tong explains argument used to win Marvin Thompson's case to NBC CT's Len Besthoff

CT Attorney General William Tong went to bat for Thompson in federal court, arguing ICE had no reason to disregard Thompson’s pardon, and he won.

“The federal government had recognized our pardon process for more than 60 years...this was about Connecticut. About our state. About our sovereignty”

Thompson says he is forever grateful the state stood up for him. 

“It was surreal the whole situation that they actually jumped in and speak on my behalf.”

As for ICE’s take on Thompson’s case, we have reached out to the agency, and the U.S. Department of Justice for comment, but have not heard back.

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