Originally published by Patch
Federal Officials accepted a request for a stay of deportation Monday for Amanda Morales-Guerra, a mother of three taking sanctuary at Holyrood Episcopal Church in Washington Heights. Local officials and community groups delivered the request to the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building Monday.
Officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have 90 days to get back to lawyers representing Morales-Guerra on whether she will be granted a stay of deportation. Lawyers will then attempt to have Morales-Guerra's case reopened and file for asylum.City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said that Monday's actions were a victory for Morales-Guerra.
"Today is a victory for Amanda, her children, & the immigrant community in NYC," Rodriguez posted on Twitter. "Let's continue to mount a strong public campaign for justice"
Rodriguez, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, State Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa and members of the New Sanctuary Coalition held a rally Monday afternoon in Foley Square before delivering a request for Amanda's stay of deportation to federal officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.(For more news about your NYC neighborhood, subscribe to Patch to get a daily newsletter and breaking news alerts.)
"We come as a faith community hoping that the hearts of those in power may open themselves to the claims of justice." Rev. Juan Carlos Ruiz of the New Sanctuary Coalition said during Monday's press conference. "We do repeat, Amanda has taken sanctuary and is seeking the justice that has been denied.""We appeal to the humanity of Thomas Decker, the ICE director of this area, we appeal to grant Amanda and her family sanctuary and the necessary justice for her and her family."The legal paperwork needed to request a stay of deportation was completed on behalf of Morales-Guerra by Geoff Kagan-Trenchard, a lawyer who volunteers with the New Sanctuary Coalition's legal clinic. Kagan-Trenchard told Patch that he was able to step forward and represent Morales-Guerra on short notice because he is in a private practice, unlike most other lawyers who volunteer with the group.Kagan-Trenchard told reporters Monday that the end goal is to seek asylum in the United States for Morales-Guerra, due to fears that she will be harmed if she has to return to her native Guatemala."Today we will be filing a stay of removal, that will allow enough time for use to purse other legal avenues that will allow [Morales-Guerra] to stay in the United States," Kagan-Trenchard said Monday. "It seems absurd that we are asking people to come and avail themselves of our court system, and engage in our court system and at the same time create this theater of intimidation where ICE officers show up at courts."Asylum in the United States is necessary for Morales-Guerra, as both she and her family living in Guatemala have been personally threatened by gangs in her home country, Kagan-Trenchard said. Gangs are threatening the family in order to coerce Morales-Guerra's brothers into joining the gangs, Kagan-Trenchard told reporters. Congressman Adriano Espaillat called President Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions hypocrites for declaring war on the street gang MS-13, but at the same time sending a woman like Morales-Guerra back to violent gangs in her home country.Kagan-Trenchard told reporters that if ICE officials can guarantee Morales-Guerra will not be detained, she would be able to leave Holyrood Episcopal Church after receiving a stay of deportation. Morales-Guerra and her three children — 9-year-old Dulce, 8-year-old Daniela and 2-year-old David — have been living in Holyrood Episcopal Church, located on the corner of West 179th Street and Fort Washington Avenue, since Thursday.Morales has been living in the United States since 2004, Rev. Juan Carlos Ruiz of the New Sanctuary Coalition told Patch. In 2012, she was a passenger in a car involved in an accident which triggered her identification as an undocumented immigrant, Ruiz said. Since the car accident, she has lived in the United States under supervision of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and has met with federal officials on a monthly basis.
Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that ICE accepted a request for a stay of deportation Monday. The stay has not yet been granted, Kagan-Trenchard told Patch.
Read more: https://patch.com/new-york/washington-heights-inwood/amp/27228494/mother-taking-sanctuary-in-washington-heights-church-granted-stay-of-deportation
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