URGENT ACTION: ICE Arrests Arturo - Help stop his deportation
April 26, 2017 our brother in Sanctuary, Arturo Hernandez Garcia, was arrested by ICE at his workplace, after living in Sanctuary at the First Unitarian Church in Denver for nine months in 2014-15. We have worked closely with Arturo as part of the national Sanctuary Movement and are devastated by his arrest.
We believe that this is a retaliatory action to punish Arturo for his on-going activism and public stance against deportations. We condemn Arturo’s detention and demand his immediate release.
An undocumented immigrant from Mexico with two children, Arturo lived in Sanctuary at the First Unitarian Church in Denver. He left Sanctuary over a year ago after being issued a letter by the Department of Homeland Security stating that he would not be deported. His detention by ICE at his workplace on Wednesday comes in direct contradiction to this letter.
Arturo and Angela during Angela's visit in 2015.
New Sanctuary Movement leader Angela Navarro, who lived in Sanctuary at member congregation West Kensington Ministry for 58 days before winning an end to her final deportation order, traveled to Denver to provide support for Arturo after she won her own Sanctuary campaign. Both continue to be active in the on-going cases of immigrants living in faith communities in defiance of deportation orders.
“We will always remain firm in the fight to win justice for our brothers and sisters facing deportation, most especially my friend Arturo in this difficult moment,” said Angela. “As leaders of the nation-wide Sanctuary Movement, I have worked alongside Arturo to end deportations and injustice against immigrants, and remain committed to winning his freedom. I trust that God will do his work to bring Arturo home to his family.”
Arturo’s family and organizers in Denver believe that he has already been transferred from the ICE Field Office to a private immigration detention facility run by the for-profit prison company the GEO Group in Aurora, Colorado. This swift transfer from ICE detention to prison furthers indicates that his detention is to punish Arturo’s public activities and further terrorize the immigrant community, particularly those who may consider taking Sanctuary.
Currently, undocumented mother Jeannette Vizguerra is living in Sanctuary at the First Unitarian Church in Denver, where Arturo lived without stepping foot out of the church. Last week, Jeanette was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.”