Zhe Long Huang and Xiang Jin Li live in Farmington, but have been ordered by immigration officials to leave the country by Friday, February 16. The couple, known by the community as Tony and Kris, sat down with FOX61 in their Simsbury Commons Business, Deco Nails, which they opened in 2006.
“I'm so scared,” Kris cried. “Don’t separate my family, please.”
The couple illegally entered the United States in 1999 and have been living and working in the U.S. for 20 years. Family advocate and friend Laurie Kane said they have been granted work permits, pay taxes, and own two homes in the Farmington Valley.
“If you are in this country and you’re not contributing in a positive way, you’re a criminal, it’s fine I understand,” she said. “But when you’re doing this to a family like the Huang family, it’s just wrong these folks do not even have a moving violation, not even a ticket, ever China or the U.S.”
They have two U.S. born children, Liam is 5 years-old and Andrew is 15.
“I can't believe this is happening,” Andrew said. “When I wake up I wonder to myself, what's gonna happen next? What's gonna happen when my parents are deported?”
According to the family, both boys only speak English and are not familiar with their culture so their parents are concerned with what a life in China would be like for them. They also do not want to leave their kids behind, saying they have no family in the states.
“Just listen to our hearts and what we're telling you because honestly this should be completely illegal and it's unhealthy for this country,” Andrew said. “This is, this is a country full of immigrants and they're kicking us out.”
The community rallied behind the family Sunday outside the Simsbury salon.
Kane said she also received hundreds of letters in support of the family, sending out her own message to ICE.
“To ICE and the officials that are making this decision don’t look at this family as a number as a file look at them as a family human beings,” she said. “Just think what’s going to happen to them.”
According to a spokesperson with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: “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.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “I am doing all that I can to fight this cruel deportation— a reckless and heartless action that would rip loving parents away from their two U.S. citizen children.”
“Kris and Tony are small business owners who have lived, raised children, and paid taxes in Connecticut for nearly two decades,” Esty said. “Their small business contributes to the success of our economy in Simsbury, and they’ve paid taxes to three Connecticut towns. Once again, I am confounded by the necessity of removing productive, caring individuals who are raising United States citizens instead of focusing on dangerous criminals who have entered our country illegally with the intent to cause harm. Kris and Tony, we stand with you. Your story is yet another example of the need for comprehensive immigration reform that provides an earned pathway to citizenship.”