Local officials and members of a community in Simsbury, Connecticut are voicing their protests against the impending deportation of a Chinese American couple who has been living and working in the United States for 20 years.
Deco Salon owners Zhe Long Huang and Xiang Jin Li are due to be deported on Friday, February 16 despite having completed all requirements demanded by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Huang has already been fitted with a GPS trackers and he and his wife were both instructed to buy one-way tickets out of the country, reports the Hartford Courant. Court records reveal that neither of them has a criminal record.
“We have been here 20 years — we don’t even think about China,” 48-year-old Huang was quoted as saying. “We are Americans. And now they tell us, ‘Get out.’”
The couple, affectionately known in the neighborhood in Farmington as Tony and Kris, are currently raising two children, ages 5 and 15. They have previously been granted work permits, and are regular taxpayers.
“This family was escaping persecution to come here,” State Senator Beth Bye of Farmington was quoted by Fox61 as saying. “They’ve come here, they’ve set up a business, and they’re important community members and our community members are saying ‘we’re with you.'”
On Sunday, almost a hundred supporters gathered outside their salon to attend a rally organized by a family friend — Avon realtor Laurie Kane. In addition to the couple’s friends and patrons of their salon, some Farmington Valley residents who have heard about their plight showed up, chanting and carrying signs supporting the couple while others condemned President Donald Trump’s policy on immigrants.
“I actually yelled at her — I said, ‘Why didn’t you tell me earlier?’” Kane recalled. “And she said, ‘I was embarrassed. I was ashamed.’”
According to Kane, the couple’s main concern is their children who do not speak Chinese and have never been to China. They remain undecided whether they will bring the kids to China or leave them in the U.S. to stay with friends.
“It makes good sense to me to go after illegals that are not law-abiding, they’re breaking criminal laws, committing felonies, and hurting people,” said State Senator Paul Doyle of Wethersfield. “But in this situation, law-abiding people paying taxes and helping our citizens just doesn’t make sense.”
Feature Image via Facebook/Eliza Florian