Taking refuge in Arizona church, illegal immigrant challenges U.S. citizenship rule
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/15/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Having lived in the United States for 14 years and having a son who is an American citizen, 36-year-old Daniel Neyoy Ruiz has taken refuge in an Arizona church after he was faced with deportation. The case is a high-profile and is seen as a highly personal challenge to U.S. immigration policy.
Having lived in the United States for 14 years and having a son who is an American citizen, 36-year-old Daniel Neyoy Ruiz has taken refuge in an Arizona church after he was faced with deportation.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Neyoy Ruiz was ordered last month to report for voluntary deportation earlier this week. Neyoy Ruiz went to a Tucson church instead, seeking asylum. The church's leaders were at one time heavily involved in a movement to give sanctuary to refugees streaming to the country from wars in Central America in the 1980s.
"I'll do anything it takes to stay with my family," Neyoy Ruiz says.
Federal immigration officials have recently focused their efforts on stopping illegal border crossings and deporting unauthorized immigrants arrested for crimes.
Many groups argue that too many non-violent immigrants are caught in the system. U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce revisions in the coming weeks to U.S. deportation policy.
Neyoy Ruiz is not the first immigrant to turn to a church for refuge from deportation. Mexican immigrant activist Elvira Arellano famously entered a Chicago church in 2006 and stayed there for a year. She was eventually deported. She has since returned to the U.S. and seeks to stay on humanitarian grounds.
Neyoy Ruiz and his wife came to the United States from Mexico 14 years ago. He was caught in a 2011 traffic stop when a police officer noticed smoke emerging from the back of his car and pulled him over.
Without identification, Neyoy Ruiz was held for U.S. immigration authorities and spent a month in detention.
A letter arrived from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement a month ago, which gave Neyoy Ruiz 30 days to appear for voluntary deportation before midnight.
Fearing separation from his family, Neyoy Ruiz asked for help from Southside Presbyterian in Tucson and went to stay at the house of worship on Tuesday.
"The community was very moved by Daniel and the importance of protecting the unity of his family," said Reverend Alison Harrington, the church pastor.
"Churches don't have the legal right or the moral authority to impact removal orders that have been handed down by the courts," Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform says. The group seeks to limit numbers of illegals entering the U.S.
Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
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