NEW FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A trio of federal lawmakers from Connecticut have sent a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials urging them to reconsider a deportation order for New Fairfield resident Joel Colindres.
U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) are asking that Colindres be "granted every consideration possible to remain in the United States and continue his pathway to citizenshi."
Colindrés, 33, was born in Guatemala and came to the United States without documentation in 2004. He married his wife, Samantha, 35, a U.S. citizen who grew up in Brookfield, in 2010. They have two U.S.-borne children: 6-year-old Preston and 2-year-old Lila.
In late July Colindrés was given just 28 days notice of his order to be deported Aug. 17.
Colindres has no criminal record, and is in the process of filing relevant applications that, if approved, would provide a pathway to legal status.
“Mr. and Mrs. Colindres have two children, ages six and two,” Esty, Blumenthal, and Murphy wrote. “Not only does he share equal responsibility for caring for them, but he financially supports them. Although Mrs. Colindres works, the family is dependent on Joel’s income. If he were forced to be separated from his children, they would not only suffer emotionally, but could also face homelessness, as Mrs. Colindres cannot afford their mortgage payments on her income alone.”
His wife Samantha set up a GoFundMe to try and raise money for the legal fees associated with fighting the deportation order and gaining her husband legal status. She said it was "the worst day of our lives" when an ICE officer handed them the deportation letter, a decision he said could not be appealed.
"Cue devastation, tears, collapsing and yelling," she wrote. "They escorted Joel to another department to get an ankle bracelet to wear for the next 28 days. A man that's been living here for 13 years with the same job and partner. A man who has paid taxes all 13 years. A man that has never had so much as a parking ticket. A man that's a father of two. A man that owns his own home in Connecticut and works six days a week. A man that completely changed my life for the better in every way. A man whose faith inspires me every day."
“ICE has confirmed that Mr. Colindres has committed no crime, contributes to his community, is employed, pays taxes, and is raising a family,” Esty, Blumenthal, and Murphy wrote.
The lawmakers also expressed concern with the short period of time Colindres was given to voluntarily deport. The order to leave the country on August 17 was only issued July 20.
“We respectfully request information about the laws or regulations that contribute to the selection of a removal date in cases such as these, as well as any available information about how Mr. Colindres’s removal date was selected,” Esty, Blumenthal, and Murphy wrote.
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