NEW FAIRFIELD, Conn. — A New Fairfield woman is fighting to try to keep her husband in the country after he was ordered to be deported despite working for years and spending tens of thousands of dollars in an attempt to get legal status.
Joel 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.
On Thursday, Joel Colindrés was given just 28 days notice of his order to be deported Aug. 17.
"July 20th, 2017, will forever be the worst day of our lives. Today, my husband, my best friend and father to our amazing children has been ordered to deport the country in 28 days," Samantha Colindrés said in a post on a GoFundMe page to help her family. "We have tried since then to do things 'the right way' and about $25,000 later, we are no better off."
That day, an officer from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement gave the deportation letter to them, a decision that he said cannot 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."
In a bid to keep her family intact, she is organizing a rally at ISAP at 330 Main St. in Hartford on July 27 at 10 a.m.
"If you want to see real change, please join me in this fight," Samantha Colindrés said in a Facebook post where she described her family's ordeal. "We need to rally all we can against this. If you are against this injustice, please support us."
Joel Colindrés told the News-Times that during his bid to gain legal status, he missed a court date over a decade ago due to a mail mixup. That caused his problems to snowball even after he married a U.S. citizen.
Joel and Samantha hired a lawyer and filled out lengthy papers after their marriage for him to gain citizenship. But the earlier missed court date resulted in an order for his removal, which kept him from gaining legal status. After checking in regularly with immigration officials, he was ordered to leave the country, the News-Times said.
Nicole Martin of Bethel, a longtime friend of the Samantha, has started a GoFundMe to help the family with legal and other costs.
"My heart breaks a thousand times for my dear friend's family. They are good people who are in love, have children, own a home and pay taxes," Martin wrote on Facebook. "Due to the new administration, they are forced to be apart and need your help. After Joel is deported, his wife, Samantha, will be left to work full time, care for their children on her own, pay all of their bills, sell their home and relocate outside of the United States.
"The process to keep Joel in the U.S. has been costly, and we ask for your help to support this family in their efforts to stay together."
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