Church Blocks Deportation Of Illegal Immigrant

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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A church in North Carolina has sheltered an illegal immigrant and her children, shielding her from arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents Friday.

Congregational United Church of Christ in Greensboro, N.C. began protecting Minerva Cisneros Garcia from deportation Wednesday, according to Winston-Salem Journal. Garcia received notice from ICE officials in May that they would no longer grant her a stay of removal and that she was required to show them a bus ticket to Mexico by Friday. Garcia initially rejected the idea of taking the church’s offer of sanctuary, but now resides there with her two youngest sons.

ICE will not arrest and deport Garcia because of their policy of avoiding arrests in “sensitive locations,” which includes places of worship. Garcia has three sons, the youngest of which, ages 6 and 3, are U.S. citizens. Garcia’s oldest son, who is blind and aged 21, while not a citizen of the U.S. is protected under the Obama-era policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The pastor of the church, Rev. Julie Peeples, notified ICE of the sanctuary they have provided to Garcia and her children. ICE has yet to respond at this time.

The church is one of several around the nation that has self-declared as a sanctuary church, shielding illegal immigrants in their community from arrest and deportation for over a year.

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