Blumenthal Meets With Pakistani Couple Taking Sanctuary in Church

Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal met Sunday with a Pakistani family who took sanctuary in an Old Lyme church to avoid deportation to discuss their appeal to legal authorities to remain in the state.

Malik Nayeed bin Rehman and Zahida Atlaf have been in sanctuary First Congregational Church of Old Lyme with their 5-year-old daughter Roniya since they evaded an order of deportation that would have landed them on a plane Friday.

The church says the move would "tear the family apart," as Roniya is a U.S. citizen.

The couple came to the U.S. legally in 2000 on non-immigrant visas, but remained past their visas' expiration dates. Blumenthal says he has received "no substantive response from ICE," but will continue to seek options with the family and their advocates.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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