With the sweeping immigration laws and buildup of gestapo-like ICE deportations taking place around the United States, many undocumented immigrants are seeking sanctuary. Jeanette Vizguerra, for example, has lived in the United States for 20 years. She has taken refuge in Denver, Colorado at the First Unitarian Society church. In an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Mrs. Vizguerra explained her recent situation.
So, in 2012, when I came back to the United States from my mother’s funeral, I knew that my case depended only on the discretion of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, because my court process had already ended. And I came back to the U.S. I knew that I was going to need to organize more protection, not only for myself, but for other people in the community. And I began working with the American Friends Services Committee to create the Sanctuary Coalition. So, fortunately for me, I have not needed to enter refuge or sanctuary here at the church. The first person who benefited from that was Arturo Hernández García. And thanks to God that he was able to go home and is still here with his family
And what led me to take the decision this time in my case was the silence from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security about my stay application that I submitted on December 7. They kept saying over and over again that they were just reviewing my case, just reviewing my case. They wouldn’t give us any information. And then, last week, with the arrest and deportation of Guadalupe, as well as the detention of a young DREAMer named Daniel, who has DACA, I decided that it was not worth the risk to go and present myself at Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The mother of four children, ranging from 6 to 12 years old, has been an important part of her immigrant-American community for years. She is the kind of American citizen we claim we want, need, and admire. She had very harsh words for Trump. She and her husband have lived in America for 20 years, paying taxes the whole time—never having access to any of the benefits afforded people from her taxes.
The other thing that I want to ask is—supposedly, I am a criminal because I drove without a license, because I had expired stickers on my car, because I had false documents to work and put food on the table for my children. But what should we call you, Mr. President Trump, when you have been evading taxes for years, when the way that you’ve been acting is not in keeping with good conscience?