Hundreds of students in New Haven walked out of class and rallied in support of a father facing deportation Thursday.
They gathered outside the New Haven church where Nelson Pinos has sought refuge to avoid deportation for nearly a year.
“At first I got very emotional,” Pinos said. “I went back inside and I cried.”
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Pinos sought sanctuary to avoid deportation to his native Ecuador. He told NBC Connecticut he came to the US in 1992 for a better life and has lived in Connecticut for nearly 20 years.
“I don’t wanna leave my family,” he said. “My kids are everything for me. Especially when you have two teenage girls, I think this is when they need me the most.”
One of the students who walked out of class in protest was Kelly Pinos, Nelson’s daughter.
“I feel very supported,” she said. “It makes me happy because I didn’t think that this many students would come out. It’s an amazing thing.”
The students marched from the church to City Hall and chanted.
“Deportation is a cruel violation of humanity,” said Yale student, Isaac Spanjer.
Immigration officials previously told NBC Connecticut that there is a removal order against Nelson Pinos, who they consider an immigration fugitive.