Meriden Father Chooses New Haven Church Over Deportation

Aug 9, 2017

A Connecticut father who was supposed to be deported to Ecuador on Tuesday has found sanctuary at First and Summerfield United Methodist Church in New Haven. Marco Reyes is the second Connecticut parent to live in a church while he builds an asylum case.


Reyes came to the U.S. in 1997 after his brother-in-law was murdered. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., says Reyes fears violence in Ecuador...and that means the court should hear his case for asylum.


“This nation was founded on the core principle of fundamental fairness and the rule of law. We are here to insist on the rule of law for Marco Reyes because he deserves a fair hearing and his day in court,” Blumenthal said.


A spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement says Reyes received a deportation order in 2009. The courts denied his petition to reopen his case in 2010, but ICE granted him a stay last year to explore other legal options. ICE denied his petition to stay in May “after those legal options were exhausted.”

ICE considers Reyes a fugitive. He will be arrested, detained, and removed from the country, “if encountered.”

But places of worship are considered a “safe space” that agents will not raid.

Tuesday night, nearly 200 people rallied to support Reyes at the New Haven church.

Reyes spoke to reporters through an interpreter at the church entrance. He gave this advice to several parents facing deportation in Connecticut.

“He says to believe in themselves and to have a lot of faith...he says the only person that can give the miracle for them to stay here will be God. Nobody else can do it.”

Reyes plans to stay at the church. Last month, Nury Chavarria was granted a stay on her deportation after living in a New Haven church for six days.