Lopez leaving Carbondale sanctuary after 10 months | AspenTimes.com

Lopez leaving Carbondale sanctuary after 10 months

Sandra Lopez with one of her three children. Lopez has been in sanctuary at a Carbondale church parsonage since October of 2017. Recent court and immigration actions will allow her to leave and continue fighting her case without the threat of immediate deportation.
Laurel Janeen Smith photo | Courtesy

Following 10 months of residing in a parsonage owned by Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist in Carbondale, Sandra Lopez will leave sanctuary today.

Lopez entered into sanctuary Oct. 19 in order to keep her family intact. However, last month a Supreme Court ruling opened a new path for Lopez and today she will take her first step to act on it.

“My attorneys have talked with ICE, and it confirmed that I am not a priority for removal at this time,” Lopez said in a statement issued by the church. “We continue to seek a positive resolution to my case through the court system and are awaiting a decision from the Board of Immigration Appeals.”

With Lopez now somewhat safe to return home, the mother of three hopes her supporters will join her today for a news conference beginning at 5:30 p.m. at 343 Cleveland Place in Carbondale, which serves as the Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist parsonage. Following the press conference, there will be a march from the parsonage to the Third Street Center where the congregation meets for services.

“I’m happy because I get to be with my family and resume some normal, everyday life after this tremendous sacrifice,” Lopez said in the statement. “I appreciate ICE’s good-faith commitment. However, my case is not finished, and I will not be truly safe until federal immigration law changes to allow me to become a permanent resident.

“I will keep advocating for humane immigration law, and keep standing with my sisters in sanctuary in Colorado — Rosa Sabido, Ingrid Encalada Latorre and Araceli Velazquez,” she added.

Far from over, according to the statement, Lopez’s deportation case still needs further resolutions through the courts. In the meantime, though, Lopez hopes the community will not only support her today but also will endorse the People’s Resolution — a task taken on by the four women in sanctuary, which lays out immigration policy reform they deem necessary.

“Sandra is leaving the sanctuary of our congregation and goes into the larger sanctuary of our community,” the Rev. Shawna Foster, minister at Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist, said in the statement. “This valley wants to keep families together and is committed to the unity of our neighborhoods by supporting sanctuary for almost a year.

“People here show, over and over, the kind of love that transcends race, religion, place of birth, or the language spoken. Sandra and her family will need this love in the future,” Foster said.


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