HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A New Fairfield man is once again facing deportation after a temporary stay granted by immigration officials, ended.
Joel Colindres was given a deporation date of January 31, five months after his family prepared to be separated indefinitely. 40 minutes before Joel Colindres’ flight back to his native Guatemala, he was granted that stay.
His wife, Samantha says their family, including a 3-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son, are reliving a nightmare.
“To put a family through that again, it doesn’t feel real that it is happening,” Samantha Colindres told News 8. “My 6-year-old and 3-year-old were there and the face of my son that day I will never get out of my mind. There is no way I can make him relive that day.”
Samantha Colindres said our current immigration system needs an overhaul because it is inhumane.
“Create an awareness about this injustice,” Samantha Colindres said about her reason for coming out. “Not just for Joel, but for families out there that may be living in silence by fear. That’s why I’m here to fight again – to protect my two young children, who as citizens themselves, have the right to have their father in the United States with their dad.”
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin echoed that sentiment on the steps of the federal building.
“It is time to put an end to the process of needlessly and senselessly separating families that are strong contributing members of our community,” Bronin told News 8.
Jesus Morales Sanchez came to support the Colindres who he called hardworking, dedicated providers who pay their taxes and do everything by the book.
“He was pursuing his American dream and instead, he is caught in this nightmare and it is very unfair,” Sanchez said.
Peter Mihaly, a Hungarian refugee, also rallied with dozens of others for Joel Colindres.
“I really believe ‘we are one’ – there’s only one planet – one people and that’s why I’m here,” Mihaly said.
Connecticut Senator, Richard Blumenthal released a statement Thursday about Joel Colindres:
“My heart breaks as Joel Colindres fights yet another cold and callous attempt to break apart his beautiful family. I am in close contact with the Colindres family and their attorney to support all efforts to keep Joel here in Connecticut where he belongs. Despite USCIS’s approval Samantha received in 2015 to sponsor her husband, Joel still has to take a few more steps before he is able to adjust his status. There is no reason to deport Joel now while USCIS needs more time to properly adjudicate his application. This nightmare is the direct result of a deportation regime that has lost all reason and rationality—a badly broken immigration system that betrays our fundamental American values and morals. I will continue to seek comprehensive immigration reform to bring lasting relief and certainty for the Colindres family and so many others facing such avoidable tragedy.I will be contacting the Secretary of Homeland Security demanding Joel Colindres be given a full and fair day in court, and that this deportation be stopped. This deportation would violate the spirit of Secretary Nielsen’s assurances to me in this week’s hearing that the Department’s focus would be on criminals, not people like Joel who have worked hard, raised families, contributed to communities, and lived here for decades, without any criminal record.”