As Immigrants Claim Sanctuary Around North Carolina, One Church Steps Up, Again

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By the Web Editors 1-19-2018
Image via Betsy Blake 

A fifth person has claimed sanctuary in North Carolina. Oscar Canales, a father of three and a business owner, took sanctuary in Congregational United Church of Christ on Thursday. He was ordered to leave the country by Jan. 18, 2018, according to Triad City Beat

“This is a loving, strong, and brave family determined to stay together,” said Rev. Julie Peeples, senior pastor at Congregational United Chuch of Christ. “… When I consider the biblical imperatives to love our neighbor and welcome the sojourners, along with the pledge of allegiance, which speaks of ‘liberty and justice for all,’ I don't know how anyone can be in favor of splitting up this wonderful family. They must be allowed to stay here in their own home, together.”

Canales had been checking in with ICE since 2013 but still had his deportation order reinstated last October. He came to the U.S. from El Salvador in 2005 and has three children. He also owns a roofing company in Greensboro, N.C., where he claimed sanctuary Thursday.

"It will be really hard on my mom and my brother and sister without my dad around," said Oscar's 17-year-old daughter Shirley Canales in a news release. "We're really hoping he'll be able to come home soon to tuck them in at night again." 

This is not the first time Congregational United Church of Christ has offered their church as sanctuary to undocumented immigrants. Minerva Garcia took sanctuary in the church from June 28 to Oct. 2. Her deportation order has been vacated, but she now has to wear an ankle monitor and check in with ICE regularly. 

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