Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have granted stays to two prominent undocumented residents of Denver, Jeanette Vizguerra and Arturo Hernández García.
Vizguerra, who had sought sanctuary in the First Unitarian Society of Denver church, was recently named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2017. She has lived in the United States for more than 20 years, working as a janitor and as a union organizer. Her decision to enter sanctuary came as the newly installed Trump administration began threatening “sanctuary cities” with a shut-off of federal funds.
Vizguerra has announced she will leave the church today to be with her family. “I will continue to lead the fight to keep families together, to grow the capacity of sanctuary and of my community to resist deportation and exploitation,” she said.
Arturo Hernández García spent nine months in the same sanctuary church two years ago. He was recently arrested by ICE even though the Obama administration had told him he was not considered a “priority for removal.”
“While I’m grateful to be able to pursue my legal fight, so many others aren’t allowed any path under this system even after decades of contributing our labor and lives to their communities and families. Marco Tulio, father of three, was detained at his check in yesterday in Phoenix. He also claimed Sanctuary and was granted relief in the past,” said Arturo Hernández García in a statement. “These times are very uncertain for so many communities.”
Democracy Now! has closely covered both cases over the past two years.
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Undocumented Mother in Sanctuary in Denver Church: I’ve Paid Taxes for 20 Years, Why Hasn’t Trump?
Denver Church Gives Sanctuary to Immigrant Mother Facing Deportation: 'We Are Not Breaking Any Laws'
Undocumented Father Finds Sanctuary in Denver Church to Fight Deportation to Mexico