NEW HAVEN -- Hundreds of people rallied in support of an undocumented immigrant who has been taking sanctuary inside the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church.
Nelson Pinos has been living there since November and protestors pushed immigration officials to give him a stay of removal instead of deporting him back to Ecuador and separating him from his family.
Friday marked 281 days since Pinos sought sanctuary at the church. His message for everyone at the rally was to be freed so he can go be with his family again.
The crowd was so large that people spilled onto the streets as they demanded Pinos to be with his three children permanently.
Pinos came to the United States illegally in 1992 with hopes for a better life and that is what he got.
"I had things that I never had in my own country. I have a wonderful family," said Pinos.
One of Nelson's children, Kelly Pinos has been actively speaking out in the community and petitioning with New Haven Public Schools in an effort to convince ICE to grant him a stay of removal.
"He came illegally. There’s no legal way of you coming from Ecuador to the US unless you have an actual profession in Ecuador," said Kelly Pinos.
She described Ecuador as a country with a high level of poverty and no potential to raise a family.
"No Jobs, no money, they make at least $10 a day," added Kelly Pinos.
It was last November when Nelson was ordered by ICE to go back to Ecuador and since then, his home has been the church but it not something he wants long term.
"Oh it was devastating especially when you have small children knowing that you might end up leaving your kids," added Nelson.
ICE is currently reviewing Nelson's case. He has been wearing an ankle bracelet so they can monitor his every move.