NEW FAIRFIELD, Conn. — A New Fairfield dad was granted a last-minute temporary stay of his deportation Thursday, just hours before he was due to leave the U.S. for his native Guatemala, according to U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy.
“Reason and justice have prevailed, at least temporarily, enabling Joel Colindres to stay with his family and pursue a fair hearing," Blumenthal said in a statement. "I am pleased that the United States Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the law and accorded Mr. Colindres the time and opportunity to vindicate his rights. I will continue to stand with the family—who would be ripped apart by this cruel and arbitrary deportation."
The stay allows Colindres, 33, to remain in the country while the court considers new evidence in his case. He has no criminal record and has been married to an American citizen since 2010. He and his wife, Samantha, who grew up in Brookfield, have two American-born children, ages 6 and 2.
"I’m relieved for Joel, his wife Samantha, and their two little kids. ... We’re going to keep working with ICE to make sure Joel can stay here at home in Connecticut,” said Murphy. “The Trump administration has been targeting families like the Colindres, and it’s an abomination. President Trump must put an end to these costly, mean-spirited policies.”
Last month, Murphy, Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th District) sent a letter to ICE and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials urging them to reconsider the deportation order issued for Colindres.
“Joel is a loving, hardworking father who pays his taxes, contributes to his community, and has no criminal record. I am relieved that Joel will have the opportunity to make his case in court, and can remain with his wife and children while he does so," Esty said.
“While this reprieve is a step toward justice for the Colindres family, their experience is nevertheless a perfect illustration of how broken our immigration system is. Tearing apart the Colindres family won’t make any other American safer or more prosperous. I will continue to push for comprehensive immigration reform that grows our economy, secures our border, keeps families together, and creates an earned path to citizenship,” she said.
Colindrés, 33, entered the U.S. in 2004 without documentation.
His lawyer, Erin O'Neil-Baker, said Colindres missed a court hearing in 2004 due to a paperwork problem, which triggered the deportation notice. That has prevented him from receiving permanent residency, she said.
That caused his problems to snowball even after he married a U.S. citizen. The family said they have spent tens of thousands of dollars for legal help over years of working for legal status for Joel Colindres.
After years of checking in regularly with immigration officials, on July 20, Colindrés was told to buy a plane ticket to Guatemala for Aug. 17.
Click here for a GoFundMe to support the family.
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