A father of three and native Ecuadorian, who was facing deportation back to his home country on Tuesday morning, has found sanctuary at a New Haven church.
Marco Reyes is a father of three from Ecuador and came to the United States in 1997. He is the sole caretaker of his family after living in the United States illegally for 20 years.
Reyes is expected to be deported at 9 a.m., but Kica Matos, who is the director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice, said Reyes has taken sanctuary at First and Summerfield United Methodist Church, which is located on Church Street in downtown New Haven.
Reyes established a life for himself in America. He has a family, installs dry wall for a living and has been paying taxes since the early 2000's. His order of deportation came during the President Barack Obama Administration in 2009 but was granted stays ever since.
Reyes' attorney filed a motion last week to reopen his old removal order, which said it would be too dangerous for him to return to Ecuador. However, that latest request was denied, which prompted rallies.
"It's hard for him. It's hard for all of us," Marco's 12-year-old daughter Evelyn Reyes said.
His family fears it would be far too dangerous for him to return to Ecuador. They said his brother-in-law was recently murdered, and they worry he would become a target.
"It's hard on them because nobody suspected that one day they're living in freedom and living a regular life in this country and then the next day, they're asking their father to leave the country," John Lugo with Unidad Latina en Accion said. "So I think it's pretty difficult for the family."
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he was "outraged and heartbroken by the arbitrary and callous decision to deport" Reyes.
"His plight today is a symptom of Trump’s cruel and inhumane immigration policies that lack all sense of reason and rationality. Marco is a hardworking father and husband who has called Connecticut home for two decades without any criminal wrongdoing. He faces serious threats to his life should he be deported. I will continue to explore all opportunities to assist Marco and his family. I remain committed to comprehensive immigration reform to provide lasting and significant change to this badly broken system," Blumenthal said in a statement on Tuesday.
The decision by Reyes is similar to what Norwalk mother Nury Chavarria did a few weeks ago. Chavarria is staying at a church in New Haven's Fair Haven neighborhood for roughly a week until an immigration court put a hold on her removal order while it considers re-opening her case.
"She's a very strong woman for doing that, and you just go to have faith," Evelyn Reyes said.
Evelyn Reyes said the family is hoping for a similar outcome.
"He had to make a really hard decision that's why we're here," Evelyn Reyes said.
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