Activists protesting earlier this year against the deportation of Jose Maria Islas. Staff photo.

Jose Maria Islas, whose immigration case has become a rallying cry for Connecticut activists, has been arrested by federal authorities and is now headed for deportation.

He case has sparked demonstrations, outrage and letters from several members of Connecticut's congressional delegation and the mayor of New Haven urging Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials not to deport Islas simply because he is an undocumented immigrant.

Islas was arrested by Hamden police in 2012 as a suspected robber but later had the charges dropped. Under Connecticut's policies for undocumented immigrants without serious criminal offenses, he should have been released.

Instead, as a result of a loophole in the policy that failed to cover actions by Connecticut judicial marshals, Islas was handed over to ICE.

"ICE blatantly defied the leadership of Connecticut and the community of New Haven," says Megan Fountain, an activist with Unidad Latina en Accion of New Haven.

"We are devastated about Jose Maria," says Ana Maria Rivera Forastieri, a legal analyst with Junta for Progressive Action of New Haven.

Islas, whose only offense was repeatedly attempting to come to the United States to find work, is apparently being transferred to a federal facility in Massachusetts to await deportation back to Mexico.