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Prayer group to spend night in front of ICE building in Hartford for Nelson Pinos

HARTFORD – Community members will spend the night outside of the ICE Building in Hartford in support of Nelson Pinos.

“I think it's quite awful for him to not be able to go home to be with his kids every night,” said Rev. Vicki Flippin of the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church.

She’s the lead pastor there and has been leading the community effort. Pinos has been inside the church for almost a year.

The 43-year-old Ecuadorian came to the U.S. illegally in 1992. He sought sanctuary inside the church last year and has been there ever since. The first request for a stay failed but now lawyers feel something is different.

“It is actually the second time we're filing for a stay. You're allowed to file another one if there had been changed circumstances,” said Tina Colon Williams, a lawyer for Pinos.

“It's been particularly hard on the kids especially his six-year-old son. And so given the documented sort of trauma of that extended separation there is a much more serious concern now than there was even a year ago,” she said.

Community members have provided over 130 letters in support of Pinos. Along with those letters will be dozens of people outside the ICE building. They’ll be there all night long holding a prayer vigil. It will end on Thursday at 8 a.m., with a gesture they hope will bring about a new decision.

“We'll deliver a prayerful appeal to ICE along with some coffee and donuts to just appeal to their humanity to give him a stay,” said Rev. Flippin.