DERBY, Conn. (WTNH) — Just hours before Derby father Luis Barrios was scheduled to be deported, news of a 30-day reprieve was announced late Wednesday afternoon.
A news conference was scheduled for 5:00 p.m. for Luis Barrios and his family to announce the latest information on their legal fight to keep him from being deported. At the beginning of that news conference, Erin O’Neill, the attorney representing Mr. Barrios, announced that they had received a call granting a 30-day reprieve.
We were just notified by Senator Blumenthal’s office and Senator Murphy’s office that Luis Barrios has been granted a 30-day stay. He does not need to depart the United States tonight. We are extremely grateful for everybody’s efforts. The family is overwhelmed with joy for this small reprieve.”
Luis Barrios and his family and friends have a strong faith. Their faith is so strong that just a few hours before his deportation and he still had not packed his bags. He believed God would intervene. It came in the form of a phone call from Senator Blumenthal.
“So we were waiting for the last minute and we prayed a lot. We prayed a lot for this notice. Thank you again guys. God bless you,” he said.
In 1992, he fled from political persecution in Guatemala. Barrios has been living in Derby for the past 25 years, is married and has four children, all of whom are U.S. citizens. He has been working for the past 14 years cleaning septic tanks. Five years ago, Barrios was stopped for a broken taillight and now, under the new administration, he qualifies for deportation.
Barrios’ 16-year-old son Lester has had many sleepless nights.
“I keep thinking about it. I just can’t stop thinking about it until I heard the news. Now i’m just really happy for everybody. I just want to say thank you to everybody out there who helped us,” Lester said.
As the family was together celebrating, very excited about the news, the clock has kicked over and began ticking because the stay only lasts for 30 days and then he has to leave the country. His attorney Erin O’Neil-Baker says they are looking for a permanent solution.
“I hope to work directly with the Department of Homeland Security and find a path to reopen this case to see if we can get a hearing on the merits of his claims for asylum,” she said.
In 2011, Barrios came very close to deportation. That’s when he was detained for a broken taillight and was set to be deported. He was all the way to the bus that will take them to the plane when ICE said he could stay.