For the second time in two months, an undocumented immigrant in Connecticut has sought refuge in a church to avoid deportation. Antonio Reyes Alvarez, a 45-year-old father of three, was booked on a flight back to his native Ecuador on Tuesday morning. He skipped the flight and entered a New Haven, CT, church for sanctuary, The Hartford Courant reported.
Speaking outside of the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church, where he has sought refuge, Reyes Alvarez explained the difficulty of his decision. “Just the thought of being separated from my loved ones — and on top of that the chance that I would never see them again — was a very heavy burden for them, and of course for me,” Reyes Alvarez said through a translator, his son-in-law Bryan Martinez.
Reyes Alvarez has lived in the U.S. since 1992. After he was caught reentering the country from Canada while returning from vacation, Reyes Alvarez has checked in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement since 2016 so that he can remain. On Tuesday morning, Senator Richard Blumenthal issued a statement expressing support for Reyes Alvarez — the senator has previously attended a protest against his deportation.
“There must be fair and effective enforcement of all laws in accordance with due process, which I firmly believe as a former federal prosecutor and state Attorney General,” Blumenthal said. “His plight today is a symptom of Trump’s cruel and inhumane immigration policies that lack all sense of reason and rationality.”
Last month, a mother of four who has lived in the country for 24 years, sought sanctuary inside another New Haven, CT, church. Nury Chavarria was granted a motion for an emergency stay by a federal judge after a week.
Connecticut’s ICE office has been accused of some especially cruel tactics to lure undocumented immigrants into its office. Since the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant crusade began, at least four families have alleged that ICE used undocumented children as bait for parents. Yazmin Rodriguez, a local immigration lawyer, told The Courant that she had witnessed the “deceptive practice” for several months.