Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Sherell Rosegreen - from deportation to documentation

Published:Saturday | March 25, 2017 | 3:00 AMCecelia Livingston Campbell
Sherell Rosegreen

Sherell Rosegreen had to deal with many heartaches, and just as it seemed as if she was getting a breather, the news came from Jamaica that her mother, Louise Garrick, had died.

Having no papers, but filled with a desire to see her beloved mom for the last time, she took a chance on doing something illegal.

With false documents, she went and applied for a US passport and a United States driver's licence, which earned her the chance to come and bury her mother and get back into the States.

After returning, Rosegreen said that she had a vision that the Feds (US Federal agents) were looking for her.

"It's like I was walking on eggshells. I was so afraid, always looking behind me. I knew something was wrong, but I could not put my finger on it," she told Family & Religion.

Anticipating trouble, she left where she was living, and two days after she left, she got the news that the Feds had gone to the house, looking for her.

"The Feds were walking around with my photo. I was in hiding for about a year until one day I heard a voice say, 'go back to your apartment, wash off your clothes, and clean your house'," she said.

She obeyed the voice and did just that. She went to the laundry, and as soon as she returned, she said she heard a loud knock on the door.

"I heard someone say, 'Open up!' I got up off the couch, put my hands on my head, pacing back and forth, and I said, 'Jesus, what am I supposed to do?, I just lost my son and I lost my mother' and slowly walked to the door and I opened it. I was greeted by 10 US marshalls and 10 Federal agents. They showed me my photo and asked if it was me, and I said yes," she related.

She was then handcuffed and placed in federal jail on Broward Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

The conditions weren't the best and Rosegreen cried out to God, asking Him to come through for her.

It was then that she heard the reassuring words that everything was going to be all right. It was so loud that she thought someone actually spoke to her.

"I turned to my inmate and say, 'did you say something to me?' And she said, no. It was then I realised that it was the voice of Jesus telling me not to worry and that everything was going to be OK," she said.

Rosegreen said that she felt confident that God would be her "judge, prosecutor and lawyer" ultimately, the final decision would be in His hands.

In jail, Rosegreen turned to the only comfort she knew: gospel music. She remembered singing 'Thou who knowest all my weakness, thou who knowest all my fears (from the song I Am Praying)'. She said that other inmates got saved through her ministering in song.

"Police officers started to cry out to Jesus. After eight weeks in federal jail, the judge gave me time served and told me I had an immigration hold," she said.

 

TEARS OF JOY

 

From then, it was a long battle to appeal the deportation order she had been given. It was constant praying for a breakthrough and one court appearance after another, which went on for five years, with it coming down to her having 30 days to leave the US.

Prayers were offered up for her, and on the 29th day of the order, her attorney called with the good news that a four-year visa had been approved for her.

"I was told not to travel, (and) after the third year, I could apply for permanent residency," she said.

After 30 long years in the States with no papers, Rosegreen finally got the approval she was seeking last March: an email that her permanent residency was approved.

"After having people taking advantage of me for years because they knew I didn't have any papers, I am finally crying tears of joy," she said.

Rosegreen has chronicled all of her experiences both in a book and a play of the same name entitled Abused Under His Charm.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com