BREAKING NEWS
CTNOW

Days Before His Deportation, Community Rallies Around New Britain Father

Supporters of a New Britain man rallied Tuesday morning in a last-ditch attempt to stave off his deportation, which will be carried out Friday if immigration officials do not grant him a stay.

Mariano Cardoso Sr., 49, who entered the country illegally 27 years ago from his native Mexico, was ordered by immigration officials to purchase a one-way ticket to Mexico City dated for Dec. 15. Cardoso’s family, immigration activists and most recently U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal have appealed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stay Cardoso’s removal, but ICE’s deadline has so far held firm.

“I was hopeful — I’m still hopeful,” his son, Mariano Cardoso Jr., said outside the federal building in Hartford Tuesday morning. “I can’t tell you that I’m not scared, that I’m not sad, that I’m not hurt. But we’re still here."

Cardoso Jr., 29, fought a deportation order of his own after he and his father were apprehended by ICE agents in 2008. Father and son were held in a Rhode Island detention center for two weeks before being released on bail. When an immigration judge ordered them deported three years later, Blumenthal intervened on behalf of the then-23-year-old Capital Community College student and his father, arguing Cardoso Jr. had been brought to the country by his parents when he was a toddler. ICE granted both men a temporary stay in 2011.

ICE continued to stay their deportations on a year-to-year basis until November, when Cardoso Sr. learned his latest application for a stay had been denied. ICE officials ordered him to leave New Britain — where he lives with his three children and works in landscaping — by Friday.

An ICE spokesman said Cardoso Sr. had been instructed to leave the country voluntarily first in 1995. But he was still in the country 11 years later, when he filed an unsuccessful motion to reopen his case. By then, the spokesman said, his order of voluntary deportation had lapsed and Cardoso Sr. was served a final order of deportation.

He was granted stays of removal after his and Cardoso Jr.’s arrest in 2008, but in November was told ICE intended to make good on the initial 1995 removal order and deport him to Mexico.

“If he does not depart,” the spokesman said, “he will be listed as an immigration fugitive and arrested when encountered.”

“I’m upset. I’m just mad, just really mad,” said Cardoso Sr.’s younger son, Edgar, 26. “It’s been a tough couple of months.” Edgar, who is a U.S. citizen, has sponsored his father for permanent residency. His father has no criminal history, records show.

Cardoso Jr. said he has not been told to leave the country.

Blumenthal said he wrote to ICE, urging them to delay Cardoso Sr.’s removal, but ICE rejected his appeal.

“But time remains for them to do the right thing,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “No family should have to suffer such ongoing fear and uncertainty.”

In recent weeks, several immigrants who had been served deportation orders were granted last-minute stays. Milton Serrano, a New Britain man and Ecuadorian national who entered the country illegally in 1995, was granted a stay one day before his scheduled deportation. Stamford resident Miriam Martinez Lemus received an emergency stay two days after defying an order to return to her native Guatemala.

At the rally for Cardoso Tuesday, supporters questioned why ICE would go after a man who’d previously been through — and been spared by — the country’s deportation apparatus.

“I really feel the ICE agents who put this deportation together and are following through on it, they are acting without an ounce of humanity,” said Debra Cohen, a 66-year-old Wethersfield resident.

Jesus Morales Sanchez, an organizer for Unidad Latina en Accion and a fixture of the federal building rallies, put it this way: “They’re going after the low-hanging fruit.”

Copyright © 2018, CT Now
60°