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From a church sanctuary, Colorado woman defies deportation

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 03:22

Classified as a fugitive by U.S. immigration agents, Colorado woman defies deportation orders by taking sanctuary in a church. Ben Gruber reports.

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STORY: Rosa Sabido stares out a church window pondering her future and worrying about her mother. Nearly two months ago, Rosa took sanctuary at the United Methodist church in Mancos, a small town in southwest Colorado. She says she has no other choice. Rosa's step-father, a naturalized U.S citizen, married her mother on Rosa's 18th birthday - a day too late for US immigration law to recognize Rosa as a citizen through the marriage. She has lived in the United States for the past 30 years and has applied for permanent residency - but in 1998, took a 5 ½ month trip to Mexico breaking the green card requirement for continuous residency in the U.S. Now, with no more stays of deportation available to her, Rosa is classified as a fugitive by the US government --an illegal immigrant eligible for immediate deportation back to Mexico. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROSA SABIDO, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT, SAYING: "I will plea, I will cry, I will ask to whomever to let me stay by my mom." Currently Rosa's chances of being allowed to stay in the U.S. are slim to none. Under current law - it would take a very rare act of Congress for her to obtain permanent residency. Now this church and its congregation are Rosa's last defense against deportation. Immigration officials have a long standing policy of not conducting enforcement in sensitive locations such as places of worship. Pastor Craig Paschal says the decision to turn his small town church into a sanctuary and a focal point in the nation-wide immigration debate didn't come easy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CRAIG PASCHAL, PASTOR OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF MANCOS, SAYING: "As people of faith, we are called to follow Christ. To be imitators of Christ, to love our neighbors, to respect life and so when we have laws that are de-valuing people and criminalizing people we have an obligation. It's certainly not comfortable, it's not easy but that's who we are called to be." Church members keep Rosa company as they devise ways to protect her against a failed immigration system. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROSA SABIDO, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT, SAYING: "I have tried so many years. I don't want to give up right at this moment. I want to keep on trying. I want to give everything, what is left of me in this fight. I want to give everything I have." For Rosa, the act of taking sanctuary is about bringing awareness to the plight millions of immigrants now face. But it's also more personal. Her mother is sick and going back to Mexico is not an option. Her mom Blanca recalls the day Rosa told her she was moving to the church. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) BLANCA BALDO, ROSA SABIDO'S MOTHER, SAYING: "I felt bad. It took me by surprise. I didn't know what do, she had already decided (to seek sanctuary) and the only thing we could do is support her because she supported us. But it's difficult. It's difficult because we need her. " Despite the odds, Rosa is optimistic that she will one day leave the church as a U.S. citizen, back at her mother's side.

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From a church sanctuary, Colorado woman defies deportation

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 03:22