Dozens of people were arrested Monday morning for blocking the federal building housing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Hartford, Connecticut to denounce the deportation of a couple that's lived in the U.S. for over twenty years.
Meriden couple Giaconda and Franklin Ramos, who came to the U.S. from Ecuador in 1993 and have no criminal record, are scheduled to board a flight back to their home country on Sept. 29.
Demonstrators sat on the ground blocking the entrances and held banners reading "Keep the Ramos family together" and "ICE stop your ethnic cleansing." They, along with other demonstrators gathered to the side of the entrances, chanted "Not one more."
The Record Journal describes the Ramoses as "the most recent family facing separation after policy changes under the Trump administration ceased the automatic renewal of deportation stays resulting in a 60 percent increase in removal orders for residents with work tax identification cards."
As local Fox 61 explains, the couple "got their first deportation notice from ICE in 2005. Their case was then closed but come 2012, they were granted a stay of removal. However, it was this past June when their stay was denied."
Their two sons, 24-year old Jason and 17-year-old Erick, are U.S. citizens and attend Central Connecticut State University.
Jason was among those arrested Monday.
"We're running out of options—we have to be creative, we have to be direct," the Hartford Courant reports him as saying. "And I take full responsibility for the consequences of these actions. But these agencies are oppressing millions of immigrants, and they need to be held accountable."
It's "like a living funeral, counting down the days that my parents are torn away from me because this administration deems that they are not deserving to be here," he added.
Unless the family lawyer's last-ditch bid to get a federal immigration judge in New York to reopen the case is successful, Jason and Erick will now be burdened with a $1,300 a month mortgage, Jason will be forced to stop school to work full time, and as deportees, the elder Ramoses won't be able to return to the U.S. for a decade.
Days earlier at candlelight vigil for the couple outside there home, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said, "The United states of America should not be tearing apart families. We should enable them to stay together. The Ramos family deserves better."