Island family split up by Brazilian immigration

Jose and Jennifer Abreu. Jose has been barred from returning to the US for five years. — courtesy Jennifer Abreu

An Island family fractured by an 18-year-old immigration case is seeking support and trying to raise awareness to bring family members home.

Jose Erivelton Pereira Abreu, an Edgartown resident who owns a landscaping business, traveled to Brazil with his family for a green card interview, but was denied, barring him from returning to the U.S. for five years.

Abreu’s wife, Jennifer, spoke with The Times to confirm her husband’s situation. “We spent six months there with my husband, but my visa expired Jan. 19th, so I had to leave my husband behind. Now I cannot return to Brazil for at least six months,” Jennifer Abreu said in a letter to The Times. “As I was leaving Brazil, immigration refused to allow my middle child, who is six years old, to leave Brazil with me. They have not only separated our family from my husband, but also my children from their siblings. This kind of trauma is very detrimental to our children.”

The issue stretches back to 2004, when a 17-year-old Abreu entered the U.S. illegally. He was released in the U.S. by immigration officials, and moved to the Vineyard, building his own business and buying a house with his wife in 2019. 

Now the family is facing financial difficulties, with Abreu stuck in Brazil. “My children are crying daily, struggling with this separation. I do not have the money to pay for our bills or groceries, and since I was away for so long, I had to take a leave from my job. Please help us reunite our family by bringing my husband and daughter home,” Abreu said. “We cannot go on like this.”


    • Gofundme takes a chunk of all money raised. 2.9% of total plus 30 cents for each individual donation. Doesnt sound like a lot but it adds up. There are better ways to raise money that allow full or close to full donations to go directly to where they were intended.

      • I’m not on social media, so I was also going to suggest someone start a GoFundMe page. I wasn’t aware of the fees involved, so thanks for the heads-up. Can you tell us about the other ways that those of us who wish to, can help this woman make ends meet? It sounds like she needs a hand up.

        • We could organize a fundraiser to support this family. I am certain lots of people would be willing to help.

  1. Based on the description, by what authority was the child prevented from leaving and has the State Department Office of Children’s Issues been contacted?

  2. I have a Russian friend who overstayed her visa – at least she had one – and she’s barred for 5 years, also. But she overstayed by 4 days with a visa not 18 years without one. So…

  3. I know a man who has lived and worked at a local business for many many years. he has a wife and three children and I have witnessed that when the Brazilian community knows ICE or another Fed Organization is on island he leaves the job moves his car and goes onto hiding. even after like 2 decades. I imagine there are hundreds new thousands of illegal immigrants here. I mean its like hiding in plain sight on island. just leave these people alone. they have so much to lose by being deported. families will suffer

      • When was the last time someone intentionally and publicly identified a local by giving obvious information intended to hurt an immigrant family but the Times stepped in to edit? Yesterday.

  4. I know these two wonderful folks. Evirelton and Jennifer are lovely, hard working people and loving parents. Could someone please explain to me why the good ones are kept out of this country, and the scumbags are allowed in?

    Let’s help Jennifer and her kids get their man back!

    • Mr Whitaker please dont use the word ‘scumbags” in front of several posters on this site. They have long assured us that every illegal is a perfect gentleman and capable of self sufficiency. Some had great animus toward our former President who said ”most of them are fine but some are not” Some wanted them all to be perfect and so they were.

      • You’ve outdone yourself, engelman, misquoting (using quotes, no less!) the racist former President’s comments on Mexican immigrants. Here is Trump’s most famous racist quote, in context:
        “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume are good people.”

        And who could forget Trump calling illegal immigrants “animals”, saying they are not people? And that the US gets immigrants from sh*thole countries in Africa, not from places like Norway. Even Mike Pence has had enough of Trump, but here’s engelman, still trying to believe there’s an ounce of decency in the worst President in this country’s history– the only one to try to undo our Constitution and incite a treasonous insurrection with his Big Lie.

      • Andy– I doubt your quote– I think it is another flat out lie from you.
        Could you document it ? I looked– I doubt trump ever said that– . I don’t go on neo nazi sites, so perhaps I missed some quotes from the dark web where he was saying that about the Klan or the proud boys.
        He certainly never said it about any refugee seeking asylum from internationally recognized atrocities.
        There are plenty of “scumbags” in the world–
        They are crossing the border, they are working on Wall street, and they are molesting our children in our churches.
        You claim “They have long assured us that every illegal is a perfect gentleman and capable of self sufficiency.”
        Who said that Andy ? Who is “they”?
        I suspect the “they” in you comment is some figment of your imagination.
        It’s a lie, and I am distressed that the editor allows you to post this racist vitriol

  5. A 17-year-old Brazilian immigrant arrives on MV, starts a business, works hard and buys a home here in 2019. And he did it without an affordable housing tax being imposed on Vineyard Homeowners. According to AH advocates such a feat is next to impossible, but that is just not true. Ask him how he and many others like him are able to buy a house without government handouts. He did it the old-fashioned way. He earned it. Keep Our Island Green.

      • Yes, places of worship are so filthy rich they hand out money so people can buy a home on the island. Any other brilliant suppositions?

        • Do some research. You’ll find that the Brazilian Churches do in fact help church goers with house purchases. I know of at least 6 Brazilian homeowners who were “gifted” money from their church to make the down payments on homes.

          • Where’s the evidence that churches give money for down payments to worshipers? That sounds more like angry jelously on your part, and like the untrue stories about the food pantry abuses. Maybe it is true, but where is the proof? I can’t find any. Besides, no bank is going give a mortgage, especially these days, without a secure income source and savings. I seriously doubt that six different homeowners disclosed their personal financial resources to you, lol, no matter how often you repeat this tale. Your claim not only sounds entirely fabricated to me, it has absolutely nothing to do with this family’s heartbreaking situation for which they deserve our compassion, if not our help.

          • Jim– perhaps a link would help us do some research– You apparently have already done this research–could you share some of it please ?
            And why the quotes on “gifted” ?
            Are you implying it wasn’t a gift ?
            Please clarify–
            Was it a “loan”?
            Something illegal ?
            I actually am doing some research, and I am getting nothing to corroborate anything you imply here.
            Having that —
            I would hope the Brazilian churches are providing assistance to their community– That’s what churches are about.

  6. I have had the privilege of knowing Eddie (as I call him ) and his business partner for many years and have referred them to multiple landscaping projects and jobs and inevitably the customer ends up thanking me in the end for putting them in touch with such honest and hard working guys. No-one has ever handed these guys anything including the church. He did it exactly the way that Dan Larkosh describes. They simply work harder and for longer hours than most people are willing too. It’s pretty simple.

    • Maybe he didn’t go through his church, but, as I mentioned above, I know at least 6 Brazilian homeowners who were gifted money from their church in order to make down payments.

      • Jim– Let me be honest here— the “at least 6” line raises a red flag about the validity of your comment. Do you know so many Brazilians who have purchased homes here that you don’t really know if it’s 6 or 10 or 50 ?
        But even if you do know “at least 6” families who were helped out by their church, is that a bad thing ?

        • The chances that at least 6 different Brazilian homeowners, possibly more, disclosed their personal home-buying financing to Jim is about as likely as no snow today. Unless Jim is a mortgage officer at one of our local banks, he’s making up stories. And if he’s a bank loan officer, he would be fired for these outrageously inappropriate customer disclosures. His comments are neither believable nor appropriate to this family’s plight.

          • Jackie, I’m replying to you here because there’s no reply button under your last comment.
            By do some research I mean talk to some of the Brazilian community. I work in the trades and know quite a few of them. Some very well as I’ve used their services for years. Of the ones I spoke to, the 4 that answered yes, are some of the ones that I know trust me. And I trust them. Not only do we work together, we also socialize occasionally. Do you know any that trust you completely? Talk to them.
            Why did I bring up my housing situation? I thought it was pretty obvious. I brought it up because losing my housing is how I found out this was going on. And where did I mention that I blame the Brazilian community for the housing crisis? I applaud them for finding a solution to the problem.
            Why is it not advertised? Because as much as you don’t want to believe it, the Brazilian community does not entirely trust the local population. Again, if you have a Brazilian friend who trusts you completely, talk to them. Not that you trust, but who trusts you.
            Again Jackie, I don’t care if you believe me or not. I know what I’ve posted is true.

        • No Don, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I never said it was. I found this out the hard way. Mid 2020 when the market took off, I lost my long term rental as it was sold. I’d been there 15 years and was given 3 months to find someplace else. I talked to a couple friends who are real estate agents. Was told it was going to be tough to find something move-in-able with the amount of money i had available for a down payment. I talked to another friend who is a mortgage broker about what I would need down. He is the one who made the comment about the churches helping out their members. I work in the trades and know a lot of Brazilians. I asked a bunch, probably between 15 and 20, of them that I know have purchased homes about it. Was told by 4 of them that they were helped by the churches. I say 6 because one of the 4 told me his brother and his wife were also helped out. I put gifted in quotation marks because my broker friend says even though the money is a loan, it is listed as a gift from the church and does not show as a monthly payment.
          You asked for evidence, this is the only evidence I can give you. You won’t find any links because it’s not something that’s advertised.I didn’t even know about it until I started looking to purchase a home.
          I honestly don’t care if you and Jackie believe me or not. I’m giving you then only truth and evidence I have based on my personal experiences.

          • So why did you tell me to “do some research” if you knew there wasn’t any evidence for your off-topic, bitter, and anecdotally gleaned assumptions which you applied to this family in crisis? The rumor and hearsay you publicly posted are based on prejudice and sketchy stories. Evidence is available if it’s real. “It’s not advertised” is a convenient excuse to promote an unfair bias that blames others for your troubles: “They” have money available to “them” but “we” don’t? Why would you bring up your admittedly awful housing issues under this article with your wrong assumption about this hard working family going through such a rough time? Looks to me like you want to blame the Brazilian community for the housing crisis. Where’ve I heard that one before? Same story I’ve heard for over 20 years. And it’s always defended by a story about “I knew a guy…”. Don’t make untrue, bitter statements when you know you’re unprepared to back them up.

          • Jim– Thank you for that clear, thorough ad believable explanation.
            I apologize for doubting you.
            But, I hope you can understand my cynicism, given all the outrageous unsubstantiated claims that fly around here.
            I will certainly give you the benefit of the doubt in the future.
            Again , my apologies.

        • Don, the reply tab seems to bed all over the place here, so I’m replying to you here.
          Thank you ask well. I do understand the skepticism of my claims. I knew I was going to receive some. As I mentioned, I didn’t know it was a thing until I was told by a friend in the real estate game. Almost makes me want to join an organized religion. Almost….

          • Jim, you made an insinuation about how this family in crisis was able to buy a vineyard home, as if getting help from any source diminishes their plight. You should be the one apologizing, since bringing up bitter resentments against our successful Brazilian neighbors has been a serious and ugly issue for decades. “I talked to a guy” is rumor and hearsay and is evidence of nothing.

          • Jim– Good for you for knowing you would take some heat for your comment, and having the courage to put it up anyway. And then having the wherewithal to defend it.

            As far as joining an organized religion– how about looking into becoming a Pastafrian ? No dogma– no tithe’s, no guilt.
            You might not get a house because you believe , but you also won’t be sent to some place where you will suffer for eternity for not believing in The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  7. These forums are hilarious. Here we have a story about a really good family that just wants to stay together, work hard, and live and breathe in their own little corner of the world (and contribute to their community when they can). But, of course, there are those who get all engorged over their “Us vs. Them” mentality – Democrats vs. Republicans, Jets vs. Patriots, Jets vs. Sharks, Griffindor vs. Slitherin, etc…

    Get a hobby and get back to writing your alimony checks

    • Ray– I only see one comment here that is just plain useless– “ask the democrats” —
      please don’t blame clear thinking caring people for the schoolyard antics of you know which party.
      And speaking of– over there on the trump propaganda network, they are already floating the conspiracy theories that the bridge collapse in Pittsburg was deliberate just so Biden could have a talking point about infrastructure.

  8. So sell the house and the business, and move to Brazil. Buy a house and retire on the much more extra money you’ll have. Doesn’t seem like a problem to me.

  9. The stupidest thing Republicans ever did was to alienate the immigrant community. Pun intended. They would rather vote Republican. Besides comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship adds $1.5 trillion to the GDP over ten years while pursuing the current deportation policy costs $2.6 trillion to the GDP. You cannot look at those numbers, support current policy and call yourself a fiscal conservative.

    Moreover, The Bible says in Leviticus 19: 33 “When an alien resides with you in your land, you must not oppress him.34“You will regard the alien who resides with you as the native-born among you. You are to love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.

    Supporting current immigration policy while claiming to be a Conservative Christian is about oxy-moronical as you can get. See, it’s not only the liberals who are calling good evil and evil good.

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