'Help Henry' campaign helps artist return home to Sanford

Community campaign assists man with immigration paperwork

SANFORD, Fla. – A popular Sanford artist is back home with some help from his community after spending about a year in his birthplace of Haiti.

Henry Dorvil says a mix-up with his immigration status forced him to return to the country his family left when he was just five months old. While his siblings had citizenship, Henry did not.

"I've been here since I was a year old," Dorvil said. "I couldn't get a driver's license for a long time. I couldn't drive a car, not because I didn't want to, but because I couldn't have that privilege."

Dorvil returned to Haiti to get his paperwork fixed and avoid deportation. He says the process took several months and living there had its share of challenges.

"I had a pump to get water," said Dorvil, who also lived without electricity.

As the months passed, the city of Sanford launched the "Help Henry" campaign, encouraging the community to write letters on Dorvil's behalf. Knowing he had to provide a good reason to return to the United States, Dorvil explained the need to take care of his mother. He also owns a video production company.

In late December, Dorvil got his visa and later flew back to Sanford to reunite with family and friends.

"On our Haitian flag, we have a saying in French. It's 'force dans l'unité,'" Dorvil said. "It means, 'strength in unity.'"

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