CARBONDALE, CO – Sandra Lopez of Silt, CO, takes sanctuary with Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist. Sandra is a mother of three US Citizen children and has called the Roaring Fork Valley home for the last 16 years. She is a leader in her community who founded a local immigrant rights group and participates in local and state level policy efforts. Despite having no criminal record and being the main provider for her family, on October 18th, ICE denied her stay of removal and she is now facing deportation. On October 19th, Sandra made the difficult and brave decision to take sanctuary. While she pursues all options in her case to gain lawful status in the US, she asks Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to use their discretion and renew her stay of removal. Sandra is the fifth person currently in sanctuary in Colorado.
Sandra Lopez found herself in deportation proceedings after being wrongfully arrested in 2010. While the charges were dropped, she was placed in removal proceedings due to a state law that has since been repealed that forced police to report people to ICE. She has been fighting to stay with her family ever since.
“By taking Sanctuary, I am showing my face. I am not running, I am not hiding. I’m fighting for my family, and all the immigrant families facing separation due to an unjust system,” says Sandra. “We need to unite, come together as a community to protect each other, to keep fighting for humanitarian relief and humanitarian application of immigration laws. I’m fighting for my children, to be with them and with my husband. In these times, it’s difficult to maintain strong families for so many reasons; why would our government be attempting to separate us when we are working to provide a good home and life for our children? I don’t understand it, and I feel it deeply in my heart.”
Sandra is taking Sanctuary at the Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist parsonage with her 2-year old daughter. The congregation decided to offer Sanctuary in March 2017. “Offering Sanctuary to Sandra is an expression of our faith,” says Reverend Shawna Foster, Minister at Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist. “We seek to unify community towards common goals of peace and justice. We need immigration reform so that this valley can stay together – deportations tear us and our families apart. Spiritually, we must always act in ways that uphold the inherent worth and dignity of each person. Offering Sanctuary is to offer a way for those in power to consider justice, not legalities.”