Pakistani family in sanctuary gains support from Blumenthal

OLD LYME — A Pakistani couple facing deportation is in sanctuary hoping to remain in Connecticut.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is meeting with Malik Nayeed bin Rehman and Zahida Atlaf Sunday to discuss their appeal to legal authorities to remain in the state.

Bin Rehman and Atlaf have been in sanctuary First Congregational Church of Old Lyme with their 5-year-old daughter Roniya since they evaded an order of deportation that would have landed them on a plane Friday.

The church says the move would "tear the family apart," as Roniya is a U.S. citizen.

What is a sanctuary church?

The couple came to the U.S. legally in 2000 on non-immigrant visas, but remained past their visas' expiration dates. Blumenthal says he has received "no substantive response from ICE," but will continue to seek options with the family and their advocates.