HARTFORD -- A family living here in Connecticut could be deported back to Ecuador this week.
The community held a rally today to protest the scheduled deportation.
People started gathering at the Hartford Courthouse around 8 a.m., risking arrest, in an emergency appeal to keep Franklin and Gioconda Ramos from being deported. The couple lives in Meriden and has two children.
Some in the community are outraged over this case. Supporters have held rallies and vigils. They've collected signatures on petitions and made phone calls to legislators.
The couple has lived in the United States for more than 20 years, having moved here in 1993. They received their first deportation notice from ICE in 2005 and in 2012, they were granted a stay of removal.
This past June, their stay was denied. Now they have until the end of the week to get on the plane and leave the U.S.
"Better future for my sons. In my country, no resources and it's very poor. This is the reason why I came to this country ... For my sons. Better future. The american dream," Gioconda Ramos said.
"I'm feeling very angry you know and I'm feeling very sad because I cannot accept that decision because we've lived 24 years here and we have a family, we have all my life here," Franklin Ramos said.
"I stand here today to stand up for my family, who is going to be torn apart from me," said Jason Ramos. ""They are our family. They are my life. I am ready to risk imprisonment. Though it may not seem like it, I am holding the law to its highest regard by standing up to injustice."
"You have to realize, it's not just a problem with my situation. It's a problem with immigration itself," Erick Ramos said. "I am 17-years-old. I do not want my mom and dad to leave. They've lived here 24 years. No criminal record, paying taxes since they moved. They've owned a house and built it up."
"The idea of deporting parents and leaving children behind...when one is underage, it just seems unconscionable to me," said Mike Thomas, a protester from Middletown.
The couple is set to be deported on Friday.