Local

Mexican woman is leaving the NC church that was a refuge from a deportation order

Minvera Garcia lived in sanctuary at United Congregational Church of Christ in Greensboro for three months avoiding deportation, but her deportation order was canceled and she is slated to return to her Winston-Salem home on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017.
Minvera Garcia lived in sanctuary at United Congregational Church of Christ in Greensboro for three months avoiding deportation, but her deportation order was canceled and she is slated to return to her Winston-Salem home on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017.

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.

Rev. Randall Keeney, vicar at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro NC, says providing sanctuary for Juana Luz Tobar Ortega is a moral obligation. Ortega has been living at St. Barnabas for two weeks since getting a deportation order from th

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.

Juana Luz Tobar Ortega has been living at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro for two weeks since getting a deportation order from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Ortega, who emigrated from Guatemala to the U.S. almost 25 yea

Camila Molina: 919-829-4538, @Cmolina__

  Comments