Elmer Peña in sanctuary
A Colorado father of three
In late August, Elmer Peña entered sanctuary at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Colorado Springs, accompanied by the Colorado Springs Sanctuary Coalition.
Elmer has lived in Colorado for 16 years ago after fleeing life-threatening gang violence in El Salvador. He and his wife have three citizen children—ages three, eight, and 11. Although Elmer had been granted stays of deportation for several years, that changed in 2017 under the Trump administration. During a routine check-in with immigration officials, he was ordered to leave the country on Aug. 16, with no recourse for appealing the decision.
"I am a good person," Elmer said in a statement. "I pay my taxes, I work hard, I am a homeowner and am not a burden on this country. I am the foundation and support for my family, and if I am separated from them, I do not want to even think about what would happen."
Video: Seeking sanctuary
Watch this KRDO news story and interview with Elmer a few weeks after he entered sanctuary at All Souls Church.