Greensboro church provides sanctuary for grandmother facing deportation

Church Provides Sanctuary For Grandmother

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A Triad church is opening its doors to a woman facing deportation.

Juana Luz Tobar Ortega has been ordered to leave the country by May 31. Instead, she is moving into St. Barnabas Episcopal Church because it is against Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy to make arrests in a house of worship.

Ortega came to the U.S. to escape violence in Guatemala about 24 years ago. She was in the process of gaining asylum status.

She had to leave suddenly when she learned her daughter was sick back in Guatemala. Ortega came back into the country illegally and has been living in Asheboro ever since.

Ortega checked in with immigration officials each year and they have allowed her to stay.

However, when she went in for her annual appointment a month ago, officials said her "Temporary Stay of Removal" had not been approved this year. They told her to be out of the country by May 31.

Ortega's family dropped off a letter to the office of Senator Thom Tillis, asking for his help. Ortega is hoping to get a stay of removal while she works toward gaining full citizenship.

Copyright 2017 WFMY


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