HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — An immigrant facing deportation to Guatemala was granted a 30-day reprieve on Wednesday hours before he was to be put on a plane.
Luis Barrios, a married father of four U.S.-born children, had been scheduled to board a flight from New York back to Central America on Thursday morning.
Barrios and his lawyer, Erin O’Neil-Baker, announced Wednesday afternoon outside his Derby, Connecticut, home that immigration officials are allowing him to stay in the U.S. for another month while they review his case.
“I would like to say thank you everybody for supporting me … God bless you everyone,” a tearful Barrios said.
O’Neil-Baker said their next step will be to pursue a motion pending with the Board of Immigration Appeals to reopen the order for Barrios’ removal.
Barrios’ immigration status was flagged after a 2011 traffic stop over a broken tail light, but there was no attempt to deport him until Republican President Donald Trump made immigration enforcement a priority, saying it’s necessary to keep the country safe.
Barrios, 51, left Guatemala in 1992 amid threats to his family and illegally entered the U.S. His father was killed shortly afterward, and his brother was slain in 2004. His wife’s relatives also have been kidnapped and killed in Guatemala.
His lawyer and members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation have urged federal immigration officials to reverse the deportation order, and he is seeking asylum. About 100 of his supporters rallied Tuesday outside the federal courthouse in Hartford, with 19 of them being charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct for blocking the courthouse entrance.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said the Barrios family can “sleep well tonight” knowing Barrios will be home when they wake up Thursday morning.