Told to Go Back to Guatemala, She Sought Sanctuary Instead | NY Times

By LIZ ROBBINS and JONATHAN WOLFE

At her July check in with immigration authorities, Ms. Morales was told to buy a ticket back to Guatemala. (Photo: James Estrin | NY Times)

At her July check in with immigration authorities, Ms. Morales was told to buy a ticket back to Guatemala. (Photo: James Estrin | NY Times)

On Thursday, instead of showing up at her immigration check-in with a nonstop ticket to Guatemala, as she had been told to do, Amanda Morales Guerra, 33, walked into Holyrood Episcopal Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz in Washington Heights. She did not know when she could emerge again.

Local clergy estimate that more than a dozen people around New York City have quietly been hiding in churches to avoid deportation from federal immigration agents since the Trump administration began, but Ms. Morales was the first to publicly seek sanctuary.

“Sincerely, I don’t want to abandon my children,” she said in Spanish, sitting on the floor of the rectory library, where she and her three young children would also sleep. “I’m doing it for them because I love them and I would die if something happened to me or my children.”

Read more: Told to Go Back to Guatemala, She Sought Sanctuary Instead | NY Times

Related: Guatemalan immigrant seeks sanctuary in Manhattan church | NY Daily News

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