Community activists and family members gathered in New Haven Thursday to rally in support of a father of three facing a deportation order.
Nelson Pinos says he came to the US looking for a better life. Now he’s hoping he’ll be allowed to stay.
Pinos is from Ecuador and has three children ages 15, 12 and 5. He tells NBC Connecticut he is the sole provider for his family and worked for the same company for 15 years – until he was let go two weeks ago due to his undocumented status.
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"I'm afraid my kids are going to lose everything because I'm their support. I don't want them to struggle like I did when I was a kid back home," Pinos said.
He says he's been paying his taxes for the last 17 years and has no criminal record. His children are US citizens. On top of that, he’s tried multiple times to obtain legal status, but was denied.
"Normally prior to this administration given his equities and given the fact he's a homeowner doesn't have a criminal record he would have been able to stay without a problem," Pinos' attorney Yazmin Rodriguez said.
"I just hope immigration understands that this is wrong," his 15-year-old daughter Kelly told NBC Connecticut. "Why are they separating families? This is so wrong. I want my daddy here and I hope there is a miracle and I hope they understand he can’t leave. I beg them to not deport him. We need him here."
ICE says Pinos received a final order of removal in 2015 by a federal immigration judge. He is set to leave the country by the end of the month. They released the following statement:
"Nelson Pinos-Gonzalez, a citizen of Ecuador, was issued a final order of removal in 2015 by a federal immigration judge. As a measure of discretion, Mr. Pinos-Gonzalez has not been placed in ICE custody, but does check in periodically at an ICE office. He has provided proof he intends to comply with his removal order. Should he fail to depart as scheduled, he will be listed as an immigration fugitive and arrested when encountered, at which time ICE will carry out his removal."
Pinos’ family hopes he’ll receive a stay of removal before it comes to that.