ICE Detains Mexican Man Who Sought Sanctuary in Denver Church for Nine Months

A Mexican immigrant named Arturo Hernandez Garcia was arrested Wednesday morning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Hernandez Garcia had sought sanctuary from deportation at the First Unitarian Society church for nine months until July 2015, when he was told he was no longer a priority for deportation. Supporters of Hernandez Garcia say he has been targeted in part because of his immigration activism. We re-air our interview from Hernandez Garcia in 2015 and speak to Jennifer Piper, interfaith organizer for American Friends Service Committee in Denver and coordinator for the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition.

AMY GOODMAN: We go now to Denver, Colorado, where Mexican immigrant Arturo Hernández was arrested Wednesday morning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Hernández García had sought sanctuary from deportation at the First Unitarian Society church for nine months, until July 2015, when he was handed a letter and told he was no longer a priority for deportation. In a statement now, ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok said, quote, “Hernández García has overstayed his original, six-month visa by nearly 14 years. He has exhausted his petitions through the immigration courts and through ICE.” Well, supporters of Hernández García say he’s been targeted in part because of his immigration activism. A group of about two dozen people outside an ICE office in Centennial on Wednesday afternoon to protest his arrest.

Meanwhile, last week, an immigrants’ rights activist who sought refuge in the same Denver church was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people for 2017. Jeanette Vizguerra came to the U.S. from Mexico in 1997, one of the founders of the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition, who has helped undocumented immigrants seek sanctuary. Earlier this year, she skipped a scheduled check-in with ICE officials and instead sought refuge in the First Unitarian Society church. And she has four children. Three of Vizguerra’s children are U.S.-born. She made the…

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