HARTFORD, Conn. (CBS Connecticut) – Just as a rally in support of Nelson Pinos of New Haven, who was facing deportation to his native Ecuador Thursday, was scheduled to get underway at the federal building in Hartford, came word that the father of three had sought refuge in a New Haven church.
His supporters say Pinos, who entered the country illegally in 1992, has been trying to gain legal status since 2012, but ICE has instead moved to deport him. Pinos was scheduled to go to Newark Liberty Airport Thursday afternoon to be deported, but instead went to First and Summerfield United Methodist Church in New Haven.
Pinos is married and has three US-born children– ages 5, 12, and 15. “Honestly, I have no holiday spirit, because if my dad’s not home, it won’t be the same,” said Pinos’ oldest daughter Kelly, but she says it’s better than the alternative. “At least he’s still here. I can still go visit him. It’s not like I won’t ever see him.”
The congregation previously gave Sanctuary to Marco Reyes of Meriden, who is still fighting his deportation case, but was granted a reprieve the day before Thanksgiving.