Minerva Garcia, one of three people under deportation order who have been living in sanctuary in North Carolina, on Monday will leave the church where she has been for three months after the order was canceled.
Garcia, who is from Mexico, moved into United Congregational Church of Christ with her two sons, ages 6 and 3, to bide time for a delay or cancellation of her deportation order from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Garcia came from Mexico to the United States 17 years ago with her oldest son, Eduardo, now 21, and her second oldest son, who died of cancer in 2007. She left Mexico to find better educational opportunities for Eduardo, who is blind.
In 2013, Garcia obtained a stay of removal from ICE because her oldest son depends on her. Every year since, she’s received a stay of removal, until this year. During Garcia’s annual check-in with ICE in May, she received an order to leave the country by June 30.
Garcia’s lawyer contacted her on Monday morning to tell her the deportation order had been canceled, reported Qué Pasa, a Raleigh Spanish-language newspaper.
“I’m so happy,” Garcia told Qué Pasa. “I’m free now and can go back to my home that has been waiting for me.” She will return to her Winston-Salem residence with her three children.
Garcia’s release from sanctuary will be livestreamed at 4 p.m. Monday on the Facebook page for the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Two other immigrants in North Carolina continue to live in houses of worship to avoid deportation.
Juana Tobar Ortega, a resident of Asheboro, is at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro. José Chicas, of Raleigh, is living in the School for Conversion in Durham.