Derby Dad Facing Deportation Speaks at New Haven May Day Rally

For one of the many immigrants in the crowd at the New Haven May Day rally, time is running out before immigration officials say he has to leave this country.

“It’s 25 years ago I left my country,” Luis Barrios told NBC Connecticut, adding he doesn’t know how it is now in his native Guatemala.

“I know it’s very dangerous,” he said.

Barrios, 52, does not want to leave his family in Connecticut, but the dad from Derby has a deportation order to take a one-way 4 a.m. flight from New York to Guatemala Thursday.

“I have my four kids with my wife,” he said. “We try to be good citizens in this country.”

Barrios said he has been on the radar of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, since police pulled him over in 2011 because a taillight on his truck was out.

“I don’t have any record like criminal record,” he said, “but now they say I have to leave the country.”

Barrios shared his story on the New Haven Green at the May Day demonstration.

“It signifies the workers’ struggle, but I think this year in particular, it’s bigger than ever,” Ana Maria Rivera-Forastieri, of Junta for Progressive Action, said. “This administration has gone out of its way to talk about how they’re going to be attacking immigrants, refugees.”

Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible is another group that set up a booth at the May Day event.

“We’re also here to support immigrants and that they know their rights, their legal rights. if they have to confront ICE or police, so we have put together ‘know your rights’ packets,” Gini King, of Connecticut Shoreline indivisible, said.

Barrios has attorneys working to postpone this week’s deportation so he can seek asylum.

“Hopefully, they listen to us and give me another opportunity to review my case,” Barrios said.

An ICE spokesperson told The New Haven Register the agency is closely monitoring Barrios’ case “to ensure his timely departure in compliance with the 1998 final order of removal.” 

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) wrote to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, seeking reconsideration of the decision to deport Barrios.

Blumenthal and Murphy said they have repeatedly reached out to ICE officials and have received no information to justify the action.

“It does not appear that Mr. Barrios poses a threat to the integrity of the immigration system. Mr. Barrios has no aggravated felonies, felonies, or misdemeanors in the United States, is a productive and valued member of his community, and has four U.S. citizen children. Based on these factors, we respectfully ask that his request for prosecutorial discretion be granted,” the senators wrote.

Immigrant activists are planning a rally Tuesday at noon outside of the ICE office in Hartford’s federal building on Main Street.

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