Request Denied for Immigrant Living in Manhattan Church

Wilfredo Benítez of the Latino/Hispanic Ministries of the Episcopal Church photographed Morales-Guerra as she held her son. “I see Mary and the Christ child in this image,” he said. (Photo via Manhattan Times)

Amanda Morales-Guerra, a 33-year-old Guatemalan immigrant who sought sanctuary at Holyrood Church in Washington Heights in mid-August with her three children, had her request for asylum denied according to her lawyer, reports Manhattan Times’ Gregg McQueen.

After attorney Geoff Kagan Trenchard, who is assisting Morales-Guerra through the legal clinic of New Sanctuary Coalition NYC, delivered the asylum request to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials on August 21, the agency granted a 90-day window to review Morales-Guerra’s case.

However, an ICE agent called to advise that the agency planned to reject the stay of deportation, Kagan Trenchard reported via email.

He said he planned to file a request for a Reasonable Fear interview, which ICE may grant to those who feel they’d be persecuted or tortured if removed to their home country. Supporters of Morales-Guerra have said she faced death threats in her native Guatemala.

Kagan Trenchard said he would also ask the court who ordered her deportation in 2004 to reopen her case.

Advocates and public officials, including local Council member Ydanis Rodriguez and Rep. Adriano Espaillat, have continued to support Morales-Guerra. They held an interfaith vigil in front of Holyrood on Aug. 27.

How long will the church shelter Morales-Guerra? What kind of messages has it received from the public? Read more from Manhattan Times.

For more on Morales-Guerra, go to an earlier article from the publication.

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