Family, friends, and supporters gathered for a rally to keep a Meriden mother and father from deportation with some of those demonstrators being arrested on Monday morning.
It was desperate plea to save Giaconda and Franklin Ramos at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Hartford. The rally for the Ramos family began at 8 a.m. in Hartford.
"Hey, hey immigrants are here to stay," demonstrators chanted and locked arms as they blocked the entrance to the federal building in Hartford.
The couple has been in the country for 20 years and raised two sons. Their sons are ages 17 and 24. Both are legal U.S. citizens. They said their entire lives are in Meriden.
Family members of the couple said Giaconda and Franklin Ramos have been trying to become legal citizens since the mid-90s. However, after years of trying for legal status and being granted stays instead, they were ordered to leave the U.S. and return to Ecuador on Friday.
"It means the world to have support," the couple's eldest son Jason Ramos said. "But it is like a living funeral, counting down the days that my parents are torn away from me because this administration deems that they are not deserving to be here."
One of their sons spoke with Channel 3 last month. Jason Ramos said his parents' stay was denied because they didn't see enough reason for them to say.
"Seeing your mom happy is the most beautiful thing in the world and for ten years they leave me," Jason Ramos said. "Friday it's ten years! Fathom that...ten years!"
More than 150 people gathered for the demonstration. While the protest ended peacefully, the Hartford Police Department arrested 35 demonstrators, including 17 from out-of-state and one Hartford resident. Jason Ramos, who was also detained, said his parents are not planning to take refuge.
"My parents are law-abiding people here, who wish to be citizens, and we will abide to the very last minute at the airport if that is what they require of us," Jason Ramos said.
The family is asking ICE to extend its deadline to allow federal immigration court to reopen and review their case. They said they're tying for another green card through the sponsorship of their son. Eyewitness News was told that it is the first stage of approval.
Fanny Reyes said she understands the family's pain. Her husband, Marco Reyes, has been avoiding deportation by seeking sanctuary in a New Haven church for weeks.
"We're just asking for a second chance for him and all the families who are going through this. It's very painful," Reyes said. "We're not asking nothing else but to be able to work and live a decent life."
Both brothers said they are hoping and praying their family stays together.
We have proven ourselves. We have worked. We have paid taxes," Erik Ramos said. "We have no criminal record. Even then we have no opportunity."
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