New London Father Faces Deportation to Colombia as Son Fights Rare Condition

“Life without a dad would be pretty hard.”

New London teenager Santiago Rodriguez is fearful that his father might be forced to leave the country in a matter of weeks. On Monday hundreds rallied to keep that family together.

Julian Rodriguez, Santiago’s father, told NBC Connecticut he’s already booked a flight back to his native Colombia.

But his family and many in the community who gathered hope he doesn’t have to use it.

Fourteen-year-old Santiago Rodriguez looked out on a crowd supporting his father and worried his family might soon be torn apart.

“Without him I don’t know what we would do,” Santiago said.

Santiago requires special care at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to treat a rare genetic immune deficiency disorder. While he’s about to start 10th grade tomorrow, his concern is that his dad, Julian, could be deported.

“Hopefully he doesn’t have to leave in two weeks and he can stay here to support my family and keep us together,” Santiago said.

That was the hope of the hundreds who rallied at New London’s Soldiers & Sailors Monument Monday.

Julian faces an order to leave the country by September 12th.

“It’s so important because Julian is so important,” said Diana Cortes, Julian’s wife.

Julian and Cortes both traveled to the US years ago to seek political asylum and a better life.

“He’s everything. It’s the support for us,” Cortes said.

Julian is from Colombia, but the 50-year-old has been in the US since 2000. This father wants to remain here to provide a future for his son and allow the boy to continue to receive the medical care he needs.

“My son must stay in the country because there is not any other place where he can be treated of the illness that he has,” Julian explained.

“A federal immigration officer said Rodriguez entered the country illegally and is a subject of a warrant of deportation. See the full statement from Immigration and Customs Enforcement below:

Julian Yesid Rodriguez Martinez, 50, a citizen and national of Colombia, illegally entered the U.S. in May 2000. In December 2003, an immigration judge issued him voluntary departure to his home country, and upon appeal, the Board of Immigration Appeals upheld the judge’s decision.

Since Rodriguez Martinez did not depart the U.S., in May 2009, he became the subject of a warrant of deportation. ICE has granted him multiple stays of removal spanning from 2010 to 2017. He currently does not have legal status to remain in the U.S. but has requested another stay of removal, which is currently pending review.

A stay of removal, when granted, is designed only to provide a temporary relief from removal; it is not a mechanism to permanently stay in the U.S. Barring the issuance of another stay, he will be removed from the U.S. in compliance with the final order of removal issued for him by the immigration judge in this case.

For operational and security purposes, ICE does not reveal scheduled dates of removal/departure in advance of a removal.”

We’re told Rodriguez has received several stays and another is being reviewed.

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