GREENSBORO, NC (May 31, 2017) Instead of getting on a plane to Guatemala as she was ordered to do by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Juana Luz Tobar Ortega instead entered sanctuary at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro, NC. The church’s vestry voted unanimously to shelter her rather than allow her to be separated from her family. Over 1,700 people have signed a petition calling on ICE to stop her deportation.
“There’s absolutely no reason for this woman to be torn away from her family and her community,” said Rev. Randall Keeney, vicar of St. Barnabas. “She’s a child of God and we will give her shelter until ICE drops her deportation order.”
Juana was the first person in recent years to be offered sanctuary in North Carolina. She will be formally welcomed into the church on Wednesday morning. Following her welcome, Juana’s family and supporters will travel to Sen. Thom Tillis’ office in High Point to ask him to personally submit her request for a stay.