After being locked up by federal authorities for three months, Either/Orchestra percussionist Vicente Lebron was released this past Thursday, and the deportation proceedings against him were dropped. Lebron, shaken by the experience, intends to seek US citizenship — now that he has discovered that the government is able and willing to ruin his life, at the drop of a hat, and for no discernible reason.
Lebron was first detained at Logan Airport in May, returning from a European tour with the Somerville-based band. At a June 9 hearing, the US Department of Homeland Security opened deportation proceedings against Lebron — who has lived in the US for nearly four decades, has a Green Card, and is married with children and grandchildren living in the US.
According to people close to Lebron’s case, federal agents based their argument for booting Lebron on two old misdemeanor crimes — one from 2000 and the other from 1985. Lebron’s current attorney contacted the judges from those jurisdictions, who both agreed to vacate the petty, nonviolent convictions.
Good thing — otherwise, the immigration judge would have had no choice but to approve the deportation request. With those demerits erased from the record, the case was literally baseless, and the judge dropped it.
Of course, Lebron does not get back the three months he spent in the South Bay House of Correction — and his family does not get back the time without him. A benefit concert helped defray Lebron’s legal costs — although, as Either/Orchestra bandmate Russ Gershon points out, we’re all picking up the tab for three months’ room and board at South Bay, plus court fees. “In my opinion,” says Gershon, “it was a complete waste of tax dollars to prosecute and incarcerate this guy.”
A more celebratory concert is being planned for later this month, Gershon adds — and thankfully, unlike the band’s gigs for the past three months, Lebron will be part of the show.
: This Just In
, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Russ Gershon, Vicente Lebron