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Pregnant mother facing deportation seeks sanctuary in Catholic mission—UPDATED

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 08/02/15

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From the Atlanta Journal Constitution: 

A pregnant El Salvadorian woman who has been ordered deported for illegally entering the U.S. has fled to an Atlanta-area Catholic mission, where she is seeking sanctuary with her two young children. Claudia Mariela Jurado recently cut off the electronic monitoring bracelet immigration authorities had attached to her ankle. She absconded after she was asked to report to them Friday for her removal. Now living in a converted office at Our Lady of the Americas Catholic Mission in Lilburn, Jurado said she left El Salvador because a gang extorted money from her there. A Catholic, she said she will stay at the mission until “God decides” otherwise. “I’m afraid for my life,” she said through an interpreter Sunday about the possibility of returning to her native country. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s policy says the agency generally does not pursue people in sensitive areas like churches unless there are special circumstances, such as public safety threats. The agency released a statement about Jurado’s case, saying she “has been afforded full due process in compliance with federal law and ICE policy.”

Read more. 

UPDATE: The Archdiocese of Atlanta is stepping in. Details: 

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta on Tuesday said a Catholic mission in Lilburn will help a pregnant El Salvadorian woman seeking sanctuary there but will “not be a long-term solution.” Claudia Mariela Jurado fled to the Our Lady of the Americas Catholic Mission with her two young children Friday after federal immigration authorities requested she appear in Atlanta to be deported for illegally entering the country. Using a pair of garden shears, she recently cut off the electronic monitoring bracelet immigration authorities had attached to her ankle. Now living in a converted office at the mission, Jurado said she left El Salvador because a gang extorted money from her there. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time someone has attempted to claim sanctuary in one of our Catholic churches,” Paula Gwynn Grant, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said in a prepared statement Tuesday afternoon. “Our Lady of the Americas Mission will provide assistance to the extent that the law and their very limited resources allow, mindful that the mission is not a long-term solution.”
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