NEW HAVEN/NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — A New Haven father of three is set to be deported on Thursday. Nelson Pinos has his plane ticket back to Ecuador, and he plans to board that early afternoon flight.
Pinos has been checking in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, every few months. His most recent application for a stay was denied.
Pinos came to the U.S. from Ecuador 25 years ago. He says he’s been trying to get citizenship since then, but he’s been denied.
“I’m not a criminal,” Pinos said. “I’ve never done anything wrong. I pay my taxes.”
Worst of all, this would mean Pinos would have to leave his wife and their three kids, ages 15, 12 and 5. All of them were born in the United States, and all are American citizens.
“We’re all devastated. We’re all crying almost every day,” said Pinos. “We try not to cry in front of the kids.”
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Pinos has been getting some help from community advocates. Supporters made a video about his case.
His wife, Elsa Calle, spoke with News 8 with the help of a translator.
“It’s very hard,” she said. “It’s very hard because those that suffer the most are my kids.”
Calle has also been working to gain citizenship. She’s been in the U.S. for 17 years. But first she’s trying to figure out how to help her husband while being strong for their children.
“I’m only pretending to be strong, but the truth is it’s really, really hard,” Calle said.
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Pinos and Calle are still hoping for a miracle.
“If this government says that they love American families, the American people, why would they want to destroy my kids’ lives? They’re also Americans,” Pinos said.
Senator Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to ICE urging the agency to grant Pinos a stay of removal. It said:
I am writing in regard to Mr. Nelson Pinos Gonzalez (A95 861 105) of New Haven, Connecticut, and the Application for a Stay of Removal he submitted on Monday, November 27, 2017.
According to Mr. Pinos’ attorney, he has a Motion to Reopen pending before immigration court in Minnesota and they are awaiting a decision. For that reason, Mr. Pinos has submitted a Stay of Removal application requesting more time to stay in the U.S. pending the outcome of that decision. Mr. Pinos is a father to three young U.S. citizen children, ages 15, 12 and 5. I am told Mr. Pinos was gainfully employed and has paid his taxes while in the U.S. and hasn’t been to Ecuador since 1992 when he entered the U.S.
ICE has confirmed to me Mr. Pinos does not have a criminal history and therefore, while I understand and respect the difficult task ICE faces, I cannot understand how deporting Mr. Pinos is the best use of ICE resources.
I urge you to consider the positive aspects of Mr. Pinos’ case and grant him more time to be with his family while the Motion to Reopen is pending. I respectfully ask you grant the Stay of Removal application Mr. Pinos submitted. If you have any questions regarding this case, please contact Jennifer Piazza in my Connecticut office. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. “
Meanwhile, a New Britain father is also facing deportation to his native Ecuador on Thursday. Milton Serrano came to the United States in 1995. His most recent stay was also denied.
Serrano lives with his wife and their three children. The kids were born in the U.S. and are American citizens.
Serrano owns his own asbestos removal business. He’s been trying cooperate with ICE.
“That’s not fair,” said Serrano. “I’m not a criminal.”
Serrano is supposed to board a flight to Ecuador from New York first thing Thursday morning.
The community is planning to rally in support of Pinos and Serrano on Thursday at 7:30 a.m. across the street from the ICE’s Hartford office.