Connecticut couple waits for word on deportation
MERIDEN — For brothers Jason and Erick Ramos, there are no more normal routines.
They are waiting to see whether their parents, Franklin and Gioconba Ramos, both 43, will be able to proceed toward legal residence or be deported to Ecuador for the next decade.
The couple are in a situation similar to that of Nury Chavarria of Norwalk, Luis Barrios of Derby, Marco Reyes of Meriden and Joel Colindres of New Fairfield, all of whom had complications with their cases that ended with final orders of deportation.
Chavarria, after seeking sanctuary in a New Haven church, has been granted a temporary stay; Reyes currently is taking sanctuary at First and Summerfield United Methodist Church in New Haven; Barrios now has two years before his next court case; and Colindres was granted a temporary stay by order of the U.S. Court of Appeals in the 2nd Circuit Thursday as he and his family were on their way to the airport, where he was to be deported to Guatemala.
None of these undocumented immigrants have criminal records.
The Ramoses were told Aug. 1, in a routine check-in with Immigration and Custom Enforcement officers in Hartford, that they needed to show two one-way tickets to Ecuador by Aug. 31 with a departure date from the U.S. no later than Sept. 29.
"After reviewing both cases, and in a further exercise of discretion, ICE chose not to place either in custody, allowing them the chance to make timely departure arrangements. If they should fail to do so, they can be placed into ICE custody, where they'll remain pending removal from the United States," a New England region ICE spokesman wrote in an email.
In the U.S. for the past 24 years, Franklin and Gioconba Ramos have been working and paying taxes, first in Brooklyn, New York, and then in Connecticut as they followed questionable legal advice or agencies who missed deadlines that left them vulnerable to deportation.
Unidad latina en Accion of New Haven is helping the Ramoses in their current situation.
Franklin Ramos said he never received notification of a final deportation order in 2005.
Shortly after he had sought an update from ICE on his applications in 2012, however, he said he was detained for three months.
Since then, he has been receiving temporary stays of deportation from the Hartford ICE office under the Obama administration, until this June when stricter enforcement of U.S. immigration law by the Trump administration kicked in for persons with final deportation orders.
Michael Boyle, the latest attorney for the Ramoses, said he is seeking to have a closed case in New York reopened, as Franklin Ramos had the necessary work sponsor he needed at the time and his son, Jason Ramos, 23, has since correctly applied to have his parents' status changed.
The Meriden family talked about their situation in the three-family home the couple bought and renovated over the last 13 years.
Boyle also is hoping the Hartford ICE office will give the Ramoses another month here so New York immigration officials can deal with the request to reopen the case.
"He has been working toward residency since 2001. ... They thought everything they were doing was the right course," Erick Ramos, 17, said.
Erick Ramos has been accepted to Central Connecticut State University and hopes eventually to pursue a degree in physical therapy. He had planned to attend fulltime in fall, but that will change if his parents are deported and the brothers are left behind.
Jason Ramos has been going to college part time and had hoped to get his degree in psychology from CCSU this year.
Both sons are U.S. citizens.
"My dad has been preparing for the worst. He has been renovating and painting so I don't have to worry about hiring and paying someone on my own. We have all been hard workers. He, as a father, always wanted to maintain that role as a protector, provider, a guide in any situation," Jason Ramos said.
The oldest son has power of attorney and will be a guardian for his brother, if need be.
He said people may say they are adults and conclude the only things their parents provide is financial support.
"A parent is someone who is with you in good times and bad times, celebrates with you but also counsels you when you are at your lowest point. We are still very young people, we are not perfect people, so we depend very much on a system of values, of people we can rely on," Jason Ramos said.
Erick Ramos said his parents never wanted to burden them with their immigration problems, but he asked "why is my mother crying every night? Why does my father wear an ankle bracelet? What did we do to have these negative things happen to us?"
Erick Ramos said his father has worked a lot of labor jobs. He said he got hit in the eye with a nail, he has smashed his hand with a hammer, he has almost sliced off his finger.
"He said none of that pain can equal the pain he feels now. No pain can describe this pain. He said to me, 'I can leave the house. I can leave a car, but I can't leave my two sons.'"
Erick Ramos said they will survive, "but it is not about just surviving. That is not what families are. That is not what America should be calling for. We are trying to be in this place to thrive, to collaborate, to move forward. When you are trying to survive, you are only looking out for yourself. That is not what we are used to. We are used to looking out for others, for others looking out for us."
The brothers said normal celebrations, such as his recent graduation and buying a car to commute to school, have been colored by their present worries.
"Normal things, like enjoying a meal, are being taking away. I see my mom's face. It is hard. It is not the same joy she always had," Erick Ramos said.
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