A Litchfield woman who’s originally from Albania has been ordered to leave the country by Monday. This past September, Denada Rondos was given a final order of removal by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
Rondos has lived in the United States since 2002. She handles finances for her husband’s restaurant in Cheshire, Viron Rondo Osteria.
The couple have three kids, ranging in age from 7 to eighteen months.
On Monday, Viron Rondos, who is a U.S. citizen, will be left behind when his wife moves back to Albania with the kids.
“She has been a wonderful wife," he told WNPR. "She has been supporting me in every step that I have done. She’s raising three wonderful children. It’s not a very pleasant time for us. We are hoping for a miracle.”
Rondos says his wife and children need asylum in the U.S. because of ethnic disputes in Albania. He believes they may face persecution if they return, because they are Greek Orthodox - a religious minority in the country.
Erin O’Neil-Baker is the family’s attorney. She said that Rondos has received an approved marriage petition from her husband, giving her a path to a green card.
O’Neil-Baker conceded Rondos entered the country illegally when she was 17, but said the couple are hoping for a pardon.
“They have three U.S. citizen children together," she said. "Mr. Rondos has an extremely successful and wonderful business that Mrs. Rondos helped him achieve. With her not here in the United States, he would suffer extreme hardship which would lead to the approval of these waivers."
A spokesman for ICE told WNPR that Rondos is an “unlawfully present citizen” and that “the agency will continue to closely monitor her case her departure in compliance with her final order of removal.”
Viron Rondos's restaurant business employs 53 people. Supporters of Denada Rondos plan to hold a prayer vigil for her in Cheshire Sunday night.
Correction: A previous version of this story referred to Rondos as a Cheshire resident. She resides in Litchfield.