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Immigration and Customs Enforcement breaks agreement, detains Arturo Hernandez Garcia

Immigration and Customs Enforcement breaks agreement, detains Arturo Hernandez Garcia

Published: April 26, 2017
Arturo Hernandez Garcia and his family

Arturo stands with his family on the steps of the Unitarian Church shortly before entering sanctuary on October 21st, 2014

Photo: AFSC / Gabriela Flora

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Rally happening now, press briefing tomorrow 4/27 at 1pm EST /11 am MT

Dial: 1-866-740-1260 Passcode: 2419995

Denver, CO. - This morning, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained Arturo Hernandez Garcia at his workplace. Arturo, a father of two citizen children and a small business owner, has called the U.S. home for almost two decades. He spent nine months in sanctuary at the First Unitarian Church in Denver, CO before receiving a letter from ICE Headquarters in July of 2015 saying he was not a priority for enforcement.

“Nothing has changed in Arturo’s life. Everything is the same except this Administration, which is focused on removing all undocumented people and tearing families apart,” said Jennifer Piper of the American Friends Service Committee. “Arturo continues to work and contribute to his community, paying taxes and watching his two teenaged daughters grow. His eldest will graduate from high school this year on May 15th and is a DACA recipient. He has an application pending for residency through his in-laws. He has no convictions. He does have a final order of deportation but also a letter from DHS headquarters saying he’s not a priority for enforcement.”

“We are angry to see our brother Arturo, a man who has given so much, targeted and detained by ICE ahead of his daughter’s graduation. That they would use their resources to surveil and detain Arturo demonstrates the mercilessness of our system. We will continue to stand with Arturo and immigrants to call on Congress to end the deportations and make our immigration laws just. We call on ICE to release Arturo immediately.” said Rev. Mike Morran of First Unitarian Society of Denver.

Upon hearing the news of Arturo’s detention, local activists and community members immediately headed towards the detention center in Centennial, CO, where they believe Arturo is being held. A rally is set to begin in front of the ICE Processing Center (12445 E Caley in Centennial CO) at 2pm MT. The action will be livestreamed on facebook here.

Jeanette Vizguerra, a mother currently in Sanctuary added “If this is a direct attack on the Sanctuary Movement, it is an act of grave disrespect to the integrity of our people and churches that we will not allow. I call on everyone to go to the ICE Field Office to support Arturo and his wife Ana, now. We must stand up for everyone in our communities, especially a leader like Arturo.”

Faith leaders and supporters of the sanctuary movement are expressing grave concern about this action by ICE. “It’s a moral outrage that ICE is targeting Arturo who is our friend, our neighbor and a leader in the Sanctuary Movement,” said said Rev. Noel Andersen, National Grassroots coordinator for Church World Service. “The detention of Arturo, someone who was previously in Sanctuary, sends a clear message that this Administration is set on tearing families apart and attacking the integrity of our faith rooted effort to keep Arturo with his wife and children. We are calling on all faith communities across the country to pray for Arturo’s release and take action now through vigils, mobilizations and calling ICE.”

Supporters of Arturo will be holding a briefing call for press on April 27th at 1:00pm ET / 11:00am MT.

Call in number: 1-866-740-1260

Passcode: 2419995

Reporters will hear from Arturo’s supporters, family members, and faith leaders, and have a chance to ask questions. Questions can also be submitted in advance to news@afsc.org. 

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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems. 

Since 1946, Church World Service has supported refugees, immigrants and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty. Learn more about CWS’ work with immigrants and refugees at GreaterAs1.org.