NEW FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Supporters are rallying to help a New Fairfield father of two who is facing a second order to return to his native Guatemala.
A peaceful rally is planned for 11 a.m. Thursday at the Hartford federal building, 450 Main St. in hopes of getting a stay of deportation for Joel Colindres.
Colindres, 33, fled death threats in Guatemala in 2004 and is now marked for deportation back to that Central American country on Jan. 31. This is the second time he has faced deportation in the past five months.
He was ordered to leave the country last summer but was granted a last-minute reprieve on Aug. 17 while he was at the airport.
On Dec. 27, just three days after Christmas, he was again issued an order of deportation during a required weekly check-in with officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The rally is being organized by Joel's wife, Samantha Colindres, a U.S. citizen who was raised in Brookfield, and a coalition of 10 human rights groups. Samantha and Joel, who have been married for eight years, have two children — a 3-year-old daughter and a first-grade son.
Joel Colindres entered the U.S. through Texas on a provisional waiver and has spent 14 years filing requests for ICE to hear his case for asylum, supporters said.
"He himself was the target of violent acts because of his religious beliefs and practices while in Guatemala and many of his family members have been murdered since he left," said a statement from supporters. "In fact, three family members were murdered in the last year alone."
Colindres has faced problems with his case over the years.
"Joel has had two attorneys who have missed deadlines or filed improperly," the statement said. "Ultimately, after 14 years of filing, no immigration judge has heard Joel's claims for asylum."
His current attorney, Erin O'Neil Baker, is pursuing several avenues toward getting Joel's permanent status.
Colindres works as a carpenter site supervisor and pays income taxes through his federally issued tax identification, supporters said.
His family is devastated by the Department of Homeland Security's deportation decision and fears that his life would be in danger in Guatemala, according to supporters.
An online petition at MoveOn.org has 10,287 signatures in his support, with a goal of 15,000.
Colindres also has the support of U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty and U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal.
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