A New Fairfield man is to be deported next week to his native Guatemala.
Joel Colindres, a father of two United States citizen children, came to the country illegally in 2004.
Colindres spoke Thursday in Hartford after a final check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He said that he fled Guatemala because of religious persecution, and is fearful for his life if he goes back.
“It’s running away from being killed,” Colindres said.
His wife Samantha, a U.S. citizen, said three of her husband’s family members were killed by Guatemalan gangsters.
She has held several events to draw attention to her husband’s situation and said he’s fed up.
“[There] shouldn’t have to be that many events for them to get the message that what they’re doing is wrong — to send Joel back to a country [where he’ll face] his certain death,” she said.
Senator Richard Blumenthal spoke on behalf of Joel Colindres at the rally. He said that Colindres should be untouchable because he has never been arrested for any crimes.
“There is no rationale or reason that a man who has followed all the laws, [has] done it right all the way along, [is] married to a United States citizen, [is] sponsored for citizenship here by her in accordance of the law, should be deported,” Blumenthal said. “There is no reason or rationale for it and it flies in the face of assurances given to me by the secretary of homeland security just 10 days ago in a hearing of the United States Senate — that the focus would be on criminals.”