Western Mass. Church Offers Sanctuary To Guatemalan Man Facing Immediate Deportation

Oct 19, 2017

A church in Amherst, Massachusetts, is allowing a Guatemalan man facing deportation to live in the building for the foreseeable future.

Lucio Perez, 35, was ordered by immigration officials to leave the country by Thursday. Perez and his wife have three children who were born in the U.S.

On Thursday afternoon, Perez stood outside the church, still on its property, surrounded by local clergy.

"Estoy aquí para, para enfrentar cualquier situación, y, si, si ustedes, este, pués me ayudan ahorario, sé que todos juntos, vamos a, a ver la victoria, lo que Dios nos va dar," Perez said.

"I'm here to confront the situation. I hope you'll help me pray," a translator said, standing next to him.

The church is right next door to the Amherst police station.

A church official said he expects immigration officials to honor the sanctuary of the building.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a general policy to not enforce immigration orders at places of worship.