Members of the Connecticut Congressional Delegation are standing with the wife of the owner of a popular Italian restaurant in Cheshire, who is set to be deported to Albania next week.
Denada Rondos manages finances at Viron Rondos Osteria restaurant in Cheshire and has lived in the United States since 2002.
Viron and Denada Rondos have three young children and say it’s too dangerous for them to live in Albania and that’s why she left in the first place.
"I worked as hard as I could to take this opportunity that was given to me by coming to America," Denada Rondos said.
Denada Rondos admits that she entered the United States with an altered passport, which had her picture on it and someone else’s information.
Rondos met her future husband Viron Rondos in New York when they were working at a restaurant. They were married in 2008. When she was married, she filed immigration paperwork and it was approved in 2013.
In 2007, Denada Rondos was given a removal order by the Immigration Court in New York. The country of Albania was determined to not be as dangerous anymore.
“We thought the criminals would be deported,” Viron Rondos said.
Denada Rondos has no criminal record and said she has been a productive member of her community for years.
“All I did is work no criminal record I have done nothing wrong but try to have a better life for me and my family,” Denada Rondos said.
For years, Denada Rondos received updates from the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement and was allowed to stay in the United States during that time.
Denada Rondos was last denied a stay on Sept. 13. About a month ago, Denada Rondos had a GPS device put on her foot and was given one month before she needed to leave the country.
“I don’t want my mommy to go back away,” her son Niko said.
On Monday, Denada Rondos will leave for Albania with her three children.
“There is no place for us to live,” Denada Rondos said.
Viron Rondos said he will stay behind and continue to work at Viron Rondo Osteria.
“I work 80-90 hours,” Viron Rondos said. “I have to pay our bills.”
Viron Rondos said he is sad to see his family leave.
“It will be disastrous for our children,” Viron Rondos said.
One-year-old Alexandra, 5-year-old Katerina, and 7-year-old Niko said they are confused.
"That my mom was gonna leave on Monday back to i forgot where it was the countries name," Katerina Rondos said.
For now, O'Neil-Baker has filed a new asylum claim for Denada Rondos.
"We've worked so hard to have what we have it's for them so they can have a better future they can have a better life,” Denada Rondos said. "How am I gonna give them a better life if I go to Albania."
In a statement, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty said “Denada Rondos takes care of three children, a home, and the books for a family-owned restaurant,” Esty said. “Her husband Viron works twelve hours a day to put food on the table for the family, not to mention establishing a small business and providing jobs for people in my hometown of Cheshire. There’s a reason why the Rondos family has received dozens of letters supporting their request to let Denada stay in this country: they work hard, they give back to their community, and they share the values we hold dear in Connecticut. We should be welcoming people like Denada into our country with open arms, not throwing them out to face an uncertain future in a dangerous region. There are four days left until Denada is forced to leave this country – four days. I cannot imagine the pain and uncertainty her family is feeling right now. My heart breaks at the thought of her children waking up each morning not knowing how long they’ll have with their mother. I want them to know this: Connecticut stands with you. We stand with you, we hear you, and we join you in calling for ICE to grant you a stay of removal so that you can make your case in court.”
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is urging that Denada Rondos be given a stay of removal.
“While I understand and respect the difficult and important task ICE faces, I cannot understand how deporting Mrs. Rondo would be the best use of ICE’s resources as she does not pose a threat to the U.S. and her community," Blumenthal said in a statement on Friday.
Blumenthal sent a letter to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Field Office Director Christopher Cronen on Friday.
"I urge you to consider the positive aspects of Mrs. Rondos’ case and the pending status of her applications and respectfully ask you grant the Stay of Removal application," Blumenthal said in the letter on Friday.
To read the full letter, click here.
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