HARTFORD –A community rallied around a couple at the federal courthouse, Friday, a week before their deportation date.
Xiang Jin Li and Zhe Long Huang, known as “Kris and Tony,” have been ordered by immigration officials to leave the country by Friday, February 16, and return to China.
About 100 people showed up to a rally in Hartford Friday to support Kris and Tony. It was held outside the Hartford field office for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
“I’m so so scared, this is my last week,” Kris said. “My whole life is my kids and now they wanna separate my family.”
Kris stood beside her husband and two American-born children, 5-year-old Liam Huang and 15-year-old Andrew Huang, while speaking out at the rally.
“ICE if you do deport our parents you’re just gonna leave horrible future for both me my brother and my parents,” Andrew said.
The couple illegally entered the United States, Tony crossed the Canadian border in 1999 and Kris flew in from Korea in 2000. They have been granted work permits and pay taxes in three Connecticut towns.
The couple found out late-January their stay of deportation was denied. According to a family advocate, the couple’s attorney filed a motion with the Board of Immigration appeals to open the prior removal order. The attorney is also requesting the Department of Homeland Security reconsider the decision.
“They epitomize what we should want from people coming to this country,” Senator Richard Blumenthal said at the rally. “They’ve lived here productively and peacefully for almost 20 years, raising a family, building a business working hard and giving back to their community.”
Senator Blumenthal said he will be sending a letter to ICE, along with Senator Murphy and Representative Elizabeth Esty, requesting a stay of deportation.
“Trump's rhetoric does not match the reality of what the federal government is doing,” Harford Mayor Luke Bronin said. “Trump talks about targeting criminals but what he is doing instead is tearing apart strong and loving families with American children.”
A concern for the parents is whether or not the kids should go with them China. The couple is Chinese by nationality and Korean by ethnicity. The children are American-citizens and have no family in the states.
“If they are returned to China they may be deported to North Korea and they may be in fact imprisoned if they’re sent back to China because of their belief in freedom,” Sen. Blumenthal said. “What a tragic and despicable irony that this family coming here for freedom and opportunity to be sent back to a land that has values exactly the opposite.”
Senator Chris Murphy released a statement Friday:
“Kris and Tony own a small business, pay their taxes, and have two children in the Farmington school system. The Trump administration’s backwards immigration policies that target families instead of dangerous criminals make us less safe. I’ve been in touch with ICE, and I will keep fighting to make sure Kris and Tony can stay at home in Connecticut with their kids.”
A Spokesperson with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told FOX61, earlier this week: “Both Mr. Huang and Ms. Li have previously been ordered by immigration judges to be removed from the U.S. to China, their country of origin. Both have filed unsuccessful appeals to these orders and must depart the country.”