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New Fairfield Resident Granted Stay In Final Moments Before Deportation To Guatemala

Aug 18, 2017

New Fairfield resident Joel Colindres said he’s grateful to have been given a temporary stay from deportation by immigration officials.

“I just want nobody in the world to go through this. The pain that we’ve been having all this time -- it’s very hard,” Colindres said at a press conference Friday.

On Thursday, a federal judge granted Colindres the stay only 90 minutes before his plane was scheduled to take off for his native country of Guatemala.

Colindres entered the U.S. without documentation in 2004. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s original order for removal stems from a missed court date more than a decade ago. Colindres is married to an American and has two children. He has no criminal record.

Colindres’s wife Samantha said that once Joel’s case is settled, she’d like to help others facing deportation.  

“There’s so many other people out there that might not feel that they can speak up,” she said. They might have taken that news and laid down and just left the country, and not did anything back. And I want them to know if you feel like you have nothing to lose, why not try everything you can try?”

Last month, ICE denied Joel Colindres's latest request to stay in the country, and ordered him to purchase a one-way ticket to Guatemala.

Colindres's wife Samantha speaks at a press conference in Hartford on August 18, 2017.
Credit Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Until the last-minute stay was granted, lawyers for Colindres were unsuccessful in convincing ICE to let Colindres stay in the country while immigration officials process two pending cases that would allow him to return.

“He has a special waiver, and that waiver would allow someone who is married to a U.S. citizen to pardon any of his prior removal order immigration issues. In addition to that, we filed a motion with the board of immigration appeals and we asked them to reopen his removal order,” said Erin O'Neil-Baker, Colindres’s attorney.

O'Neil-Baker said now Colindres can stay in the U.S. while the 2nd Circuit Court thoroughly reviews his case.