February 01, 2021

Colorado congressional Democrats request halt to deportations for those in sanctuary

The six Democratic members of Colorado’s congressional delegation have sent a letter to the White House requesting a halt to deportation proceedings for people living in sanctuary inside houses of worship throughout the state.

“We believe you should use your legal authority to lift the deportation orders against Colorado’s sanctuary leaders – Ingrid Encalada Latorre, Jeanette Vizguerra-Ramirez, Rosa Sabido, Sandra Lopez, and Arturo Hernandez Garcia – and exercise favorable discretion to grant stays of removal for these individuals,” read the letter dated Jan. 29.

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse led the request to the Biden Administration, along with U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper and U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette, Jason Crow and Ed Perlmutter.

The officials explained that in response to the more restrictive immigration policies under the Trump administration, congregations increasingly allowed residents facing deportation to seek refuge inside their buildings. As of early 2018, a report catalogued 1,100 houses of worship that belonged to the sanctuary movement shielding a total of 36 people.

“I think for publicity reasons, immigration enforcement does not like to go into churches,” Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell Law School, told CNN, adding that federal authorities could nonetheless take those in sanctuary into custody.

Pausing deportation proceedings for those living in sanctuary in Colorado “would help keep families together and provide stability and hope for a small number of immigrants as we work with your administration on comprehensive immigration reform with the goal of creating a more fair and moral immigration system,” the Colorado congressional members wrote.

By:  Michael Karlik