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New Fairfield Resident Granted Stay In Final Moments Before Deportation To Guatemala

Ryan Caron King
On Thursday, a federal judge granted Joel Colindres the stay only 90 minutes before his plane was scheduled to take off for his native country of Guatemala.

New Fairfield resident Joel Colindres said he’s grateful to have been given a temporary stay from deportation by immigration officials.

“I just want nobody in the world to go through this. The pain that we’ve been having all this time -- it’s very hard,” Colindres said at a press conference Friday.

On Thursday, a federal judge granted Colindres the stay only 90 minutes before his plane was scheduled to take off for his native country of Guatemala.

Colindres entered the U.S. without documentation in 2004. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s original order for removal stems from a missed court date more than a decade ago. Colindres is married to an American and has two children. He has no criminal record.

Colindres’s wife Samantha said that once Joel’s case is settled, she’d like to help others facing deportation.  

“There’s so many other people out there that might not feel that they can speak up,” she said. They might have taken that news and laid down and just left the country, and not did anything back. And I want them to know if you feel like you have nothing to lose, why not try everything you can try?”

Last month, ICE denied Joel Colindres's latest request to stay in the country, and ordered him to purchase a one-way ticket to Guatemala.

Credit Ryan Caron King / WNPR
Colindres's wife Samantha speaks at a press conference in Hartford on August 18, 2017.

Until the last-minute stay was granted, lawyers for Colindres were unsuccessful in convincing ICE to let Colindres stay in the country while immigration officials process two pending cases that would allow him to return.

“He has a special waiver, and that waiver would allow someone who is married to a U.S. citizen to pardon any of his prior removal order immigration issues. In addition to that, we filed a motion with the board of immigration appeals and we asked them to reopen his removal order,” said Erin O'Neil-Baker, Colindres’s attorney.

O'Neil-Baker said now Colindres can stay in the U.S. while the 2nd Circuit Court thoroughly reviews his case.

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series “Where Art Thou?” Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of “Morning Edition”, and later of “All Things Considered.”
Ryan Caron King joined Connecticut Public in 2015 as a reporter and video journalist. He was one of eight dedicated reporters on the New England News Collaborative’s launch team, covering regional issues such as immigration, the environment, transportation, and the opioid epidemic. His work has been published nationally on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now, and on NPR’s digital platforms. From 2017 to 2018, Ryan was on a team covering the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and won a National Edward R. Murrow Award for “Excellence in Video.” Since 2019, he has been a full-time visuals journalist.

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