During a press call earlier on Thursday, advocates for Arturo Hernández García, a Denver father of two who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Wednesday, said they were exploring several legal options to stop Hernández García’s possible deportation to Mexico. In 2014, Hernández García took sanctuary at First Unitarian Society of Denver, the same church in which Jeanette Vizguerra took sanctuary two months ago. According to advocates, Hernández García spent nine months at the church, until he was notified by ICE in July of 2015 that he was no longer a priority for deportation. Advocates believe that Hernández García’s detention was politically motivated, a charge that ICE has denied.
“Hernandez Garcia has overstayed his original, six-month visa by nearly 14 years,” ICE spokesperson Carl Rusnok told The Denver Post in a statement. “He has exhausted his petitions through the immigration courts and through ICE.”
The press call featured the following individuals: Rev. Noel Andersen, the national grassroots coordinator for Church World Service; Jennifer Piper of the American Friends Service Committee: Rev. Mike Morran of First Unitarian Society of Denver: Ana Sauzameda (Hernández García’s wife) and Vizguerra.