Two weeks ago, 38-year-old Veronica Castro — an undocumented immigrant and wife of a U.S. veteran — told her story to a crowd gathered outside Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C.: She had come to the U.S. from Mexico 17 years ago, seeking medical surgery for her young son. She was facing possible deportation in April.
Today, she learned she won’t be deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — at least for another year.
A grateful crowd of faith advocates and immigration activists, gathered outside the ICE office in Baltimore, welcomed the news. The vigil, organized by the DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network, was served to publicly accompany Veronica to her hearing — one key tenet of providing sanctuary, immigration activists say. Advocates pledged to stay at the ICE offices until her appointment was complete.
The concept of sanctuary is widely understood to mean offering physical safety, but the DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network has pledged to offer a variety of support to immigrants and communities targeted by the Trump administration. At the launch of the network on March 21, more than 60 congregations from 17 religious traditions promised to work to provide support to all in their communities who fear being profiled, detained, or deported.
Castro has routinely checked in with ICE each year since 2011. But a spike in immigration raids this year has corresponded with rising concerns over even routine encounters with ICE. In February, a woman in Arizona checked in as she had every year, and was detained and deported the next day.
Veronica’s story mirrors thousands of others, Richard Morales of PICO National Network said at the launch of in March.
"Our families are being torn apart. We as a faith community have a moral obligation to stand up," he said.
Including at Veronica Castro’s ICE appointment next year.