Jeanette Vizguerra has been living in a Denver church since February, fearing deportation and being separated from her four children. Finally, after three months, Vizguerra has been granted a stay of removal until 2019 and is free to leave the church in time for Mother’s Day. Vizguerra made international headlines when a private bill was introduced in Congress to offer her permanent residency, making her a prominent face of the immigration debate under President Trump’s administration. She has even been named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2017.
Vizguerra, an undocumented mother of four, has been granted a stay of removal.
VICTORY for the Colorado community! #HereToStay
— United We Dream (@UNITEDWEDREAM) May 12, 2017
Jeanette Vizguerra has spent the last three months hiding in the First Unitarian Society of Denver to avoid being deported. Vizguerra sought sanctuary in the church instead of attending a scheduled check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). After learning her original stay of removal order had expired, Vizguerra feared she would be deported, so she made the decision to stay in the church.
Vizguerra is the second immigrant in Denver this month to be granted a stay of removal after fears of deportation forced them to seek refuge.
CO mom is granted a "stay of removal". Jeanette Vizguerra leaves Denver church and returns to her family. https://t.co/0TyZUXF5vs
— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) May 12, 2017
Vizguerra and Arturo Hernandez Garcia are both undocumented immigrants living in Denver. Hernandez Garcia was recently given a much shorter stay of only 30 days which allows for him to see his daughter graduate from high school.
The announcement of Vizguerra’s stay comes just days before Mother’s Day.
Jeanette Vizguerra hid in a church to avoid deportation. She's now walking free for Mother's Day https://t.co/eLJPtoSFtM
— Michael F Ozaki MD (@brontyman) May 12, 2017
“It’s a special day for me because I will be able to celebrate Mother’s Day with my children and grandchildren,” Vizguerra said at a press conference, according to TIME. “Their struggle is my struggle, and my struggle is their struggle, because we are a community.”
Representative Diana DeGette, who represents Colorado’s 1st District, celebrated the decision.
— Rep. Diana DeGette (@RepDianaDeGette) May 12, 2017
“ICE finally chose justice and granted a stay for Jeanette, freeing her from the church basement where she has sought shelter these past few months, and Arturo’s circumstances have been resolved for the moment,” DeGette said in a statement on her website. “But such situations should never arise in the first place. People who contribute to their communities and live peacefully for decades in this country – at a time when immigrants of all types are being demonized – deserve better. Congress needs to get serious about comprehensive immigration reform rather than continuing with the patchwork of measures that we now have. And in the meantime, the Executive Branch needs to show more compassion.”
Vizguerra’s supporters joined her as she left the church this morning for the first time in years.
"We will not be moved." Jeanette Vizguerra and supporters walk out of First Baptist in downtown Denver. pic.twitter.com/DUUjqht7pZ
— Erica Meltzer (@meltzere) May 12, 2017
People were excited to see Vizguerra finally make her way out of the church basement she called home for months.
People are expressing their joy that Vizguerra gets to enjoy her time with family for Mother’s Day.
— Mi Familia Vota (@MiFamiliaVota) May 12, 2017
Others are reminding people that this is just a part of the larger issue of immigration reform.
Great news on stays for Jeanette Vizguerra and Arturo Hernandez Garcia in Denver. We fight on for systemic change. https://t.co/hahIaVYLg0
— Hector E Sanchez (@Hesanche) May 12, 2017
Some are asking for Vizguerra to be given an indefinite stay.
— Monique Vargas (@Mo__vargas) May 12, 2017
You can watch her full press conference below.
Credit: The Denver Post / YouTube
READ: His Wife Had To Stop Him From Going Back To Work Since He Only Has 30 Days Before ICE Takes Him Back