Dozens arrested protesting deportation of Meriden couple

HARTFORD, Conn (WTNH) – Hartford police arrested dozens of protesters for blocking the entrance to Hartford Federal Court Monday morning. Activists, clergy, and family of Giaconda and Franklin Ramos staged the protest to draw attention to the scheduled deportation of the Meriden couple.

“We are here today in solidarity with my family that is going to be torn apart from me in less than 5 days,” said their son, Jason Ramos, as he sat in front of the courthouse doors. “My liberty, my justice, my freedom has already been compromised.”

Giaconda and Franklin Ramos came to the US from Ecuador 24 years ago without proper documentation. The government found out about them during a raid 5 years ago. Ever since, the couple has checked in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement every year. Every year they’ve been allowed to stay, but not this year.

If this sounds familiar, it’s the same thing that happened to several other undocumented immigrants in Connecticut in recent months, people like Nury Chavarria and Marco Reyes. They both got sanctuary in New Haven churches when they were scheduled for deportation. Courts granted a stay of deportation for Chavarria. Reyes is still living in a church near the New Haven green.

“We’re going to keep fighting and we’re not going to give up,” said Reyes’ daughter Evelyn. She and her family were in the crowd supporting the Ramos family.

“As you may know, my husband is in sanctuary for 7 weeks already and we are just asking for a second chance for him and other families,” said Marco’s wife Fanny Reyes.

Supporters of the Ramos family hope they can get a stay issued for Giaconda and Franklin. Blocking the federal building’s door was designed to draw attention to their plight. After about an hour, police gave each protester a warning: If they continued to block the doors, they would be arrested.

Approximately three dozen stayed seated, and were led away, frisked, and put in police transport vehicles. They were not handcuffed. Among those arrested was the older son, Jason Ramos. Younger son Erick was not arrested, and as the protest wound down, he made one more tearful plea.

“We have worked, we have paid taxes, we have no criminal record. Even then we have no opportunity,” Erick Ramos said. “They said they give us a chance, and where’s the result? 24 years in this country and I’m 17 and my mom and dad are leaving me.”

The Abraham Ribicoff Federal Courthouse was back open for business by 9:30 a.m. It is ow up to a federal immigration court whether or not to issue a stay of deportation. The Ramoses are scheduled to be deported on Friday.

Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley tweeted out a list of those arrested at the demonstration which can be viewed below:


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