Police estimate at least 30 people were arrested when they refused to move away from the doors at the Ribicoff Federal Building on Main Street in Hartford as part of a protest against the deportation order of Meriden residents Franklin and Giaconda Ramos.
The Ramos family has been in the US for over 20 years and raised two sons in Connecticut.
Monday’s rally was meant to serve as part of an emergency appeal to let the Ramos family stay in the US. If they are not granted an extension, they will have to leave on Friday.
Holding signs and locking arms, dozens of protestors sat in front of the doors Monday morning.
“We have worked, we have paid taxes, we have no criminal record. Even then we have no opportunity,” said Erick Ramos, one of the couple’s sons.
Erick Ramos’ parents emigrated from Ecuador 24 years ago. Franklin was detained after a raid at his work in 2012. Ever since, he’s worn a GPS monitoring device and had regular check-ins with ICE. This summer, he and his wife were told they would be deported by Friday, Sept. 29.
ICE spokesman Shawn Neudauer released the following statement on the matter:
ICE spokesman Shawn Neudauer released the following statement on their case:
“On Aug. 1, Franklin and Giaconda Ramos, illegally present citizens of Ecuador, were notified during a routine office check-in that ICE intended to proceed with their court-ordered removal from the United States. Both individuals have final orders of removal issued by a federal immigration judge in 2005. In August, both applied to ICE for stays of removal, and both were denied by the ICE Field Office covering Hartford. However, recently an immigration court granted the couple a stay of removal in furtherance of their legal proceedings.
After reviewing both cases earlier this year, and in a further exercise of discretion, ICE chose not to place either in custody, allowing them the chance to make timely departure arrangements or to continue to seek relief before the courts.”
Neudauer added that ICE respected the protests.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion peacefully without interference," he wrote.
Their other son Jason was in the line of protestors.
“We are holding a line for the people that could not be here, for the people that were torn apart from their families, the people here that are living in fear,” Jason said.
Among the crowd of supporters were members of the Reyes family. Their father has been seeking sanctuary in a New Haven church for seven weeks.
“We’re just asking for a second chance for him and other families that are going through this. It’s very painful,” Fanny Reyes of New Haven said.
Protestors were warned that if they did not move from in front of the building that they would be taken into police custody. Jason Ramos was one of the dozens of people arrested. The group is hoping their stand of solidarity means something.
“This nation is a nation built by immigrants. We are here to participate, here to collaborate, we are here to build. We are not here to terrorize anybody. We are here to build families, to build the American dream,” Jason said.