Unitarian Universalist Church considers becoming a sanctuary church

  • Unitarian Universalist Church considers becoming a sanctuary church

Unitarian Universalist Church considers becoming a sanctuary church

Jeanette Vizguerra, an illegal immigrant who first came into the U.S.in 1997, took refuge in a Denver church to avoid being deported Wednesday. In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, Jeanette Vizguerra, 45, said she skipped her scheduled check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier out of fear that she would be deported.

Vizguerra said she told her children last week of her decision to stay in a basement room of the church that they had painted in 2014 in preparation for any immigrant who might need to seek sanctuary.

Jeanette Vizguerra, a 44-year-old mother of four, is facing deportation. Still, the case brought Vizguerra to the attention of immigration authorities, who, until this week, had granted her several extensions to stay in the USA while she sought her U visa. U visas are for victims of crimes willing to work with law enforcement on investigating criminal activity.

Meanwhile, several economic experts have warned that Trump should be careful with his new immigration policy because the US economy and workforce would actually be a "disaster" without immigrants, ABC News reported. Since then, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have targeted hundreds of immigrants across the country, especially those with outstanding deportation orders.

The mother of three has now taken refuge inside a church in Denver.

Vizguerra said she wanted to extend the stay on her deportation order, which expired last week, while she continues the application process for a special visa.

"This is not just an attack on me but an attack on the whole immigrant community", said Vizguerra.

Vizguerra, crying at first, spoke in Spanish by phone through a bullhorn to supporters outside the ICE building and later in person at the First Unitarian Church not far from the state Capitol. Under President Trump, immigration agents have begun rounding up undocumented residents with criminal convictions. According to NPR, after a 2011 memo issued by ICE under President Barack Obama, it has been federal policy to not enforce immigration arrests in churches and other "sensitive locations", like schools, unless absolutely necessary.

Immigration officials say they do intend to remove Vizguerra from the country, in part because of past charges of possessing forged documents.

She said she was arrested for not having a driver's license or current vehicle registration.