NORWALK, Conn. — The Norwalk mother of four who took sanctuary in a New Haven church to avoid deportation to her native Guatemala has received an emergency stay of deportation and will be allowed to return home with her family.
The decision was issued late Wednesday afternoon by the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and a federal court, according to Gov. Dannel Malloy and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
“Today, reason and compassion have prevailed," Malloy said. "There was never a rational justification for Nury Chavarria to have been threatened with deportation and separated from her children."
Chavarria came to the United States in 1993 at the age of 19. She applied for asylum, but her petition was denied. She has been showing up for annual check-ins with immigration officials since 2011.
Each year, she was given the go-ahead to remain in the U.S. until this June, when ICE officials ordered her deportation for July 20.
Chavarria said she made the hard decision to seek sanctuary to stay close to her children: a 21-year-old with cerebral palsy, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate and a 15-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl.
She has no criminal record, works as a housekeeper, and pays taxes.
Chavarria moved into Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal Church with her 9-year-old daughter last Thursday instead of boarding a plane to Guatemala. On Sunday, over 200 people rallied at the church to show their support.
"Members of the community had their voices heard, and I am glad that we could work with federal and local officials and advocates to achieve this outcome," Malloy said. "Immigrants are vital to the fabric of our nation. Rather than focusing on those living peacefully within our borders, our attention should be on those who do harm to others.”
“Justice and reason have prevailed and Nury will be allowed to temporarily return to her home in Norwalk as we continue to fight for long-term relief," Blumenthal said. "The facts in this case are clear and compelling, and I am hopeful that once granted her day in court Nury will be awarded the legal status she deserves."
Blumenthal said he remains in close contact with Chavarria, her legal team and advocates "to provide all support possible to resolve this humanitarian nightmare," he said.
"Nury’s plight is the direct result of an immigration system that has lost all sense of humanity—a betrayal of fundamental American values. As we fight for Nury and her family, I remain committed to comprehensive immigration reform to bring lasting justice to this badly broken system,” Blumenthal said.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy also promised immigration reform.
“We can all breathe a small sigh of relief for the Chavarria family,” said Murphy. “I'm glad ICE finally listened to our calls for justice for Nury, and I'm grateful for all the community support she received. But this is just a temporary victory, and only when President Trump's mean-spirited policy of tearing apart parents from their young children ends will meaningful justice be achieved. My staff and I will keep pushing ICE to make sure Nury can stay here at home in Connecticut pending Congress passing comprehensive immigration reform.”
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman agreed. “For years, Ms. Chavarria has abided by the requirements set forth by immigration officials in order to stay in this country, raise her children, go to work, and support her family," Wyman said. "I’m grateful to the many advocates and the church community that took a brave stand to protect her, to fight for her, and to call attention to a situation that, if allowed to proceed unchecked, would not have furthered our national security interests. I hope Ms. Chavarria and her family are able to move past this traumatic situation and get back to their lives.”
The nonprofit group Parents Together has set up a GoFundMe page to gather financial support for the family. Visit gofundme.com/NuryChavarria for more information.
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