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Church Provides Sanctuary for the Undocumented of Chicago

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Chicago Immigrant

Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in Chicago is once again providing sanctuary to another undocumented Mexican immigrant. This is coming, on the heels of winning a deportation suspension order for an undocumented mother that was also living in the church.

On November 11, Father Jose Landaverde of our Lady of Guadalupe met with family members and friends of Miguel Sanchez Olguin to make an announcement that the church, located in the Pilsen neighborhood outside of the Chicago Loop, would grant Olguin sanctuary from deportation.

Miguel Sanchez Olguin, 35, has lived undocumented in the United States for 16 years. A native of Zacatecas, Mexico, he came to Chicago from Kansas City.

In August 2011, he was arrested for his second traffic violation in Kansas City, and the court handed him over to immigration officials. An immigration judge ordered his deportation, despite arguments that his life would be in danger if he returned to Mexico.

Sanchez is a professional chef and almost all of his relatives live in the United States, most of them legally.

Father Landaverde said that since his deportation is “imminent”, he decided to give him sanctuary while appealing to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to let him stay in the country.

“The scriptures forbid the oppression of anyone, and oblige the faithful to take part in acts of resistance,” the missions’ communiqué read.

Sanchez will share the mission’s lodgings with Beatriz Santiago Ramirez, another Mexican immigrant who was notified by immigration that she could apply for the visa that is awarded to victims of domestic violence, with a chance to stay in the United States.

The single mother of two children who are now US citizens sought sanctuary in the church on August 11 and now only awaits her work permit to leave the premises.

“We do what all Christians should do”, Father Landaverde said. Landaverde himself also fled from violence in his homeland of El Salvador when he was young, later founding the Guadalupe Mission in 2007.

Representatives of some 40 churches in Illinois and other states have announced their support this month for the Sanctuary Movement on behalf of undocumented immigrants facing deportation.

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