HARTFORD – One father has five days left until he finds a solution to prevent him from being deported back to his home country in Ecuador. State and local officials along with community members gathered in Downtown Hartford to show their support for the family.
Marco Antonio Reyes Alvarez currently lives in Meriden with his family, but they have lived in the United States since 1997. It was in 2007 when he was apprehended by ICE while vacationing with his family near the Canadian border by accident. Since 2016, he has consistently checked in with ICE and it was just last month when he was suddenly ordered to leave.
The family was extremely emotional and overwhelmed by the number of people who showed up at the rally. They were in tears over the uncertainty of what will happen to the sole provider of their family.
“He’s not a criminal. He’s always been a good person, a good father and a good parent,” said Fanny Torres, Marco’s wife.
Since 2016, Marco and his wife, Fanny filed for a stay of removal and has had to check in with ICE officials every six months, but their stay was denied.
Senator Blumenthal was among those taking a stand for the family.
He said the family was failed by the system and could have been misrepresented by their attorneys in the past. He added making a case of asylum is not easy and it involves presenting evidence. The family reported to ICE consistently, so it was assumed officials were aware of their whereabouts and status.
The family has been paying taxes since 2002.
“Many of them were unfortunately let down by their attorneys. They should’ve been more proactive,” added Blumenthal.
“Their kids go to school with our children. They’re a part of our community. They’re leaders. They’re advocates,” said Miguel Castro, a councilman of Meriden.
Marco’s current attorney, Erin O’Neil-Baker said his family in Ecuador has faced a long history of violence. His brother-in-law was the victim of a revenge murder. The killer was incarcerated but was released early. Once he got out, he started targeting Marco and his family. O’Neil-Baker said if he were to go back, he would face the same danger.
“One of the family members was targeted so much and harassed so much that she also fled to the United States in March of 2016,” said O’Neil-Baker.
Marco has two daughters and one son. Both his daughters struggled to hold back tears during the rally and delivered an emotional message.
“I really need my dad with me here because I can’t do anything without him,” said Adriana Reyes, his daughter.
“He’s been here for 20 years and he’s part of American, you know? He needs to stay here with our family,” said Evelyn Reyes, also his daughter.
Blumenthal said the administration should document those who do have criminal records and not people like Marco who are simply in the United States to work hard, support his family and live a happier life.
O’Neil-Baker said she has filed a motion to reopen Marco’s old removal order and if that is approved, they can move forward in finding ways to establish his permanent residence.
As for now, ICE said Marco has until August 8th before he needs to leave.