Supporters rallied on Thursday behind a Connecticut family that could be torn apart by a deportation order.
Joel Colindres of New Fairfield says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials told him he has to go back to Guatemala by Aug. 17.
The rally kicked off at 10 a.m. on Main Street in Hartford near the federal courthouse.
"To have all these strangers, it's amazing," said Samantha Colindres, Joel Colindres' wife. "Just a week ago, he had to deport. Look how far we've come in a week, so I'm hopeful."
Hartford police called it peaceful.
Joel Colindres' family said Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal have offered their help their predicament.
“My office has been in close contact with Joel, Samantha, and their attorney, and we are actively working with ICE to pursue every option," Murphy told Eyewitness News. "As a father of two young kids, I can only imagine the pain Joel is going through right now at the thought of having to leave his 6-year-old son Preston and 2-year-old daughter Lila. The Trump administration once again is irresponsibly targeting families. I think we all agree that our limited law enforcement resources should instead go to deporting dangerous criminals.”
Blumenthal also released a statement on Thursday morning in which he said he's also been working with the Colindres family.
"Yet again, the Trump administration is seeking to separate a hardworking father from his U.S. citizen children—a law-abiding man who has lived here dutifully reporting to ICE each year while contributing to his community and raising his beautiful family," Blumenthal said. "The fact that ICE would give a father only 28-days’ notice to leave his wife and children—leaving next to no time to pursue legal remedies—is cold, callous and reprehensible. ICE approved Samantha Colindres’ application to sponsor her husband’s visa but is now deporting him before he can proceed through the process for obtaining legal status pursuant to that approved sponsorship. ICE should allow Mr. Colindres to follow through on that sponsorship rather than permanently upending this family’s life. This nightmare is the direct result of the Trump administration’s decision to remove all reason and rationality from its immigration policies, and I continue to implore the President to end this nightmare and commit to true, bipartisan discussions to reform this broken immigration system in a way that respects our fundamental American values and morals.”
Joel Colindres said he has spent the last seven years trying to become a U.S. citizen and providing for his wife and two children. He's been in the country a total of 13 years.
His children are 2 and 6 years old.
He has no criminal record.
Now they are is asking for more time to fight his case.
His wife said he pays taxes, owns a home and has been regularly checking in with ICE officials throughout the process to provide necessary documents.
However, the last time he met with them, he was told his stay wasn’t being granted and he had 30 days to leave.
The family said ICE sent him a letter, but his name was spelled wrong and the office sent it to the wrong address. The family claimed they had no idea.
Since taking office, President Donald Trump has been working to fulfill his campaign promise of cracking down on illegal immigration.
The family said they won’t separate, so if he has to go back to Guatemala, the whole family will leave.
Joel Colindres was not at Thursday's rally. His wife told Eyewitness News that he was working on the case with his lawyers.
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