They can’t take Julian from his family

August 29, 2018

Craig McQuade reports from New London as supporters of the city’s immigrant community increase pressure on ICE to leave Julian Rodriguez with his family.

SOME 250 people rallied in downtown New London, Connecticut, on August 27 to support Julian Rodriguez and his family. Julian is currently facing a deportation order for September 12, though his family and the community are hoping the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency will grant a stay.

Julian came to the U.S. from Colombia in 2000 and asked for political asylum. Since arriving in the U.S., he has built a life for his family and become a much-loved member of his community in New London.

If ICE does force Julian to return to Colombia, they will be breaking up his family. For much of his son’s life, the family has had to make countless trips to Hartford so his son can receive treatment for a rare genetic condition.

Julian’s son can’t receive this treatment in Colombia and can’t live without it — meaning that Julian would be permanently separated from his family and unable to help his son get to his appointments.

Several hundred New London residents mobilized to defend Julian Rodriguez
Several hundred New London residents mobilized to defend Julian Rodriguez (Craig McQuade | SW)

The Monday evening rally was a testament to Julian’s importance to his community as well as the growing sentiment in New London to protect immigrants in the city. The demonstration was one of New London’s largest in years — the only bigger ones were parts of national days of action or in response to Donald Trump visiting the Coast Guard Academy.

A diverse crowd carried signs to support Julian and oppose anti-immigrant scapegoating. People listened to Julian and members of his family, local faith leaders, local state representatives and community organizers.

After the rally officially concluded, many people stayed around to informally discuss next steps and further organizing for Julian and the immigrant community as a whole. They filled the plaza for another half hour after the rally.

Julian, much like New Londoner Roberto Rauda, is facing an unclear future. The next couple weeks could mean the difference between his ability to stay with his family or be forced to watch from afar, hoping for the best for his son.

The community has shown that it is behind Julian and his family. The next steps are to continue to pressure ICE to ensure that he is able to stay in the city he calls home.

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