National News

CT mother set for deportation seeks sanctuary at church

Posted July 21

— A Norwalk mother of four children who has lived in the United States for more than two decades was supposed to be headed back to Guatemala on Thursday.

Support lawyers, advocates and pleas from Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy weren't enough to sway the immigration officials who ordered her to leave.

On Thursday, 43-year-old Nury Chavarria, an undocumented immigrant, was set to board a plane at 5 p.m. and head back to Guatemala.

However, on Thursday afternoon, Eyewitness News found out she is seeking refuge in a local church through sanctuary. She is staying at the Igleasia De Dios Pentacostal Church in New Haven's Fair Haven neighborhood.

Advocates said when they last heard from Immigration Customs Enforcement, it was acknowledged that they would honor the current statutes, not going into churches or schools.

Supporters rallied for her in New Haven on Wednesday.

The message was loud and clear: "Keep Nury home." Connecticut's senators also wrote letters on her behalf.

But they didn't get the decision for which they'd been hoping.

"I believe in keeping families together, and this doesn't make any sense to me," said Terra Martin of New Fairfield.

Nury Chavarria said she came to the country 24 years ago. She settled in Norwalk and got a job as a housekeeper. She raised a family.

Now President Trump's crackdown on undocumented immigrants has come into play. She was told she can no longer stay in the country.

"The last month was really tough with everybody and I can't believe that happened to me," Nury Chavarria told Eyewitness News.

She said the decision will tear her family apart.

Her oldest child, who's 21, has cerebral palsy. Her youngest is 9 years old.

"Please don't do this to my mom," said Haley Chavarria. "She really didn't do anything."

On Thursday evening, Gov. Dannel Malloy met with Chavarria just hours after she decided to seek refuge from deportation. He said she isn't the kind of person immigration officials should be focused on.

"I'm here to say this individual case is wrong but I am also very committed that the greater wrong is when the American people are lied to about what their government is doing," said Malloy.

Eyewitness News was told that Nury Chavarria would live with her mother in Guatemala. She's still trying to figure out who will care for her four children in the U.S.

Now that she's seeking sanctuary, the Center for Community Changes plans to help Chavarria's children get to New Haven from Norwalk so they can spend time together.

Senator Blumenthal says this case is similar to that of Luis Barrios, the Derby father, who also came from Guatemala, had a steady job to support his family, and just like Chavarria, had no criminal record.

But while he was given a two-year stay following his deportation order, she was told to leave.

"The abject irrationality and inconsistency of the Trump administration approach is illustrated by these two cases. In Nury's case, every logic and evidence of fairness argued in favor of permitting her to stay. There was no consistency or rationality or reason, or let alone humanity in this case," Blumenthal said.

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