AlexBelongsHere

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wife of Alex Garcia Travels to DC to Advocate for Husband's Private Bill

Contact: Sara John, 636-222-7621, sara@ifcla.net 

 

As Immigrants Living in Sanctuary Face Threats from the Trump Administration, the Sanctuary Collective is in D.C. Urging Action

“My husband has been living in a St. Louis church for almost 2 years.”

 

Washington D.C. - A dozen members of the National Sanctuary Collective are in Washington D.C. today calling on congressional members to take action and champion their cause. Earlier this month, members of the Collective were mailed fines as high as $497,777 from top DHS officials in the Trump Administration. This comes on the heels of ICE operations against sanctuary members -- one at a scheduled USCIS appointment and another against a crime victim and the certifying police agency that signed on to a certification acknowledging her cooperation with a law enforcement agency. 

“The current administration has turned sanctuary into an ugly word, but at the very core, sanctuary represents resilience and human dignity. Given the political climate, the leaders of the collective understand that it will take bold action and leadership to address this issue head on, but they are willing to take on the challenge, and they are counting on elected officials to find national policy solutions to this issue, which would have implications for thousands of people.” Lizbeth Mateo, an attorney for Edith Espinal, one of the mothers living in sanctuary who received a fine letter.  

 

What:    Press Conference

When:   TODAY, Tuesday, July 23 @ 1:00pm

Where:  Rayburn House Office Building 2325, Washington DC

Who:     Members of the Sanctuary Collective, their family, church leaders and attorneys for immigrants in sanctuary

VISUALS:  Testimonials and pictures

 

“We are here in D.C. today representing all of the families across the country who are not only separated but also facing retaliation from this Administration,” states Carly Garcia, whose husband, Alex Garcia, has been living at Christ Church United Church of Christ in St. Louis since September 2017. Carly, a U.S.-born citizen, has expressed that “it doesn’t matter that I am a U.S. citizen and we have 5 kids together, they still want to deport my husband.” On July 12th, 2019, Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-1) introduced H.R. 3750, a private bill for Alex Garcia, which, if it is prioritized by Congressional leadership and the Immigration and Citizenship subcommittee, could result in a stay of removal and ultimately, legal permanent residency with a pathway for Alex to become a U.S. citizen. 

“For those of us living in sanctuary it feels like we have been forgotten by those who claim to be our champions. We too are separated from our families, yet we are told to be patient and to wait for immigration reform” says Edith Espinal, an Ohio mother who has been in sanctuary at the Columbus Mennonite Church for 21 months. “In Columbus I am still waiting for my representative to visit me at the church. For two years I’ve been requesting a meeting, I just feel like we are not a priority.” 

“Our friends are going to D.C. on our behalf because there are members of congress like Sen. Sanders and Rep. Castro who have personally made promises to us. We want to make sure that they keep their word and that our struggle becomes the number one priority for them” said Hilda Ramirez, who has been living in sanctuary with her 11-year old son Ivan, for over two-years. 

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The National Sanctuary Collective (Colectivo Santuario) is comprised of immigrants in sanctuary, immigrant organizers, attorneys, and allies in faith communities spanning seven states—Texas, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Virginia.


Alex Garcia's Latest Hope to Block Deportation? A 'Private Bill' From U.S. Rep Clay

“An act of Congress could spring Alex Garcia from the Maplewood church where he has spent nearly eighteen months locked in a stalemate with immigration agents — but odds aren't high of even that working. “

Doyle Murphy, Riverfront Times, 12 March 2019.

Congress could help reunite father, immigrant with Poplar Bluff family

“"You will get your bill." That's what the Garcia family said Congressman Lacy Clay told them last week when he visited them at Christ Church United Church of Christ in Maplewood.”

Abby Llorico, KSDK Newschannel 5, 12 March 2019.

Clay urges ICE to temporarily drop plans to deport man living in Maplewood sanctuary

U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay is calling on federal immigration officials to approve a stay of removal for Alex Garcia, who took sanctuary in a Maplewood church nearly 10 months ago.


“Anyone who meets Alex Garcia and his wife would be immediately moved by their courage, their dignity and their determination to keep their family together,” Clay said in a statement. “Deportation would do nothing to protect America. But it would destroy a family.”

Carolina Hidalgo, St. Louis Public Radio. 12 July 2018.

Clay calls on ICE to stay a deportation order against immigrant living in a Maplewood church

“Alex is a family man, is not a danger to the community and should be reunited with his U.S. citizen wife and five U.S. citizen children,” Clay, D-St. Louis, wrote in a letter to Ricardo A. Wong, director of the Chicago office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

“We’re fishing,” Clay said in May. “We are fishing to figure out a way to get this young man reunited with his family by any means necessary.” He told Garcia during his 30-minute visit that the congressman’s office would be in touch with ICE and Clay promised Garcia he would return to the church one day to watch Garcia walk out a free man.

Doug Moore, St. Louis Post Dispatch. 10 July 2018.

Clay calls on ICE to stay a deportation order against immigrant living in a Maplewood church

“Alex is a family man, is not a danger to the community and should be reunited with his U.S. citizen wife and five U.S. citizen children,” Clay, D-St. Louis, wrote in a letter to Ricardo A. Wong, director of the Chicago office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

“We’re fishing,” Clay said in May. “We are fishing to figure out a way to get this young man reunited with his family by any means necessary.” He told Garcia during his 30-minute visit that the congressman’s office would be in touch with ICE and Clay promised Garcia he would return to the church one day to watch Garcia walk out a free man.

Doug Moore, St. Louis Post Dispatch. 10 July 2018.

Congressman visits Honduran immigrant seeking refuge from deportation

Clay said his office would be in touch with ICE. He promised Garcia he would return to the church one day to watch Garcia walk out a free man.

“Alex has been a model citizen, loved by his community, and there are people all over Missouri saying this about him,” Clay said. “I’m certain the voters of my district would feel the same way.”

Mike Faulk, St. Louis Post Dispatch. 25 May 2018.

Alex Garcia Is Still in Sanctuary, Defying ICE, as Support Grows

Thank you, Riverfront Times reporter Doyle Murphy for helping us share the #truth of the #injustice facing Alex Garcia, Carly Garcia, their family, and countless other immigrant and mixed status families. Thank you to the Poplar Bluff, Missouri community who spent time with Doyle and shared their perspectives and continue to support Alex and his family.

We will not stand idly by as ICE destroys our communities and shatters our values. We will not wait patiently as Congress makes more excuses, picks petty battles, and fails to do their job. We've had more than enough.

#Sanctuary4All #SantuarioParaTodos #Not1More #HereToStay #dignity #dignidad #AlexBelongsHere #LoveThyNeighbor

Doyle Murphy, Riverfront Times. 14 February 2018.

IFCLA Supports Alex Garcia as He Fights to Remain with His Family

IFCLA Supports Alex Garcia as He Fights to Remain with His Family

On October 21st, 2017, supported by the Migrant and Immigrant Community Action (MICA) Project, the St. Louis Coalition on Sanctuary, and IFCLA, Alex Garcia sought the protection of sanctuary. Faced with unjust deportation to Honduras, Alex and his family made the brave choice to fight his removal by taking sanctuary in order to continue to pressure Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to renew his Stay of Removal. 

Fighting Deportation, Missouri Resident Seeks Sanctuary in Church

“Last Thursday, September 21, Garcia was supposed to report to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in St. Louis for deportation. Instead, he is taking sanctuary at a church somewhere in the region — and his lawyer attempted to file an additional request for a stay of removal even as supporters rallied outside the Robert A. Young Federal Building. The new request included a petition with nearly 800 signatures.”

Katie Hayes, Riverfront Times. 25 September 2017.

Missouri church welcomes father of five young U.S. citizens into sanctuary

A United Church of Christ congregation in Missouri is supporting a father of five young U.S. citizens in his battle to stay in this country to raise them to adulthood. Christ Church UCC in Maplewood, Mo. welcomed Alex Garcia into sanctuary during worship on Sunday, Oct. 22 and will shelter him until Immigration and Customs Enforcement "does the right thing" and issues him a stay of removal.

"As a person who believes in justice, as a clergy person who believes very strongly that when a neighbor says I need help, our responsibility is to say yes, I will do that," said Christ Church pastor the Rev. Rebecca Turner. "I felt we really had no choice."

Connie Larkman, United Church of Christ News. 24 October 2017.

Man living in Poplar Bluff takes sanctuary in St. Louis area to avoid deportation

"It's not easy for me," said Garcia. "To think to think of my children when I talk to them and they ask me why I don't come home."

Alex Garcia considers Poplar Bluff, Mo. to be his home. He's lived there for 13 years. It's where his wife and children live.

"We don't know how long it will last," Said Carly Garcia, Alex's wife. "Hopefully not long at all, my children want him home, I want him home."

Hank Cavagnaro, KFVS 12. 24 October 2017.

Poplar Bluff, MO man takes sanctuary to stop his deportation to Honduras

“A man from Honduras but living in Poplar Bluff, Missouri is fighting to stay in the Heartland.

The St. Louis Sanctuary Coalition, area organizations, along with faith leaders and advocates, gathered with Alex Garcia as he entered sanctuary in an attempt to stay with his family in the U.S.”

Joshua Murray and Hank Cavagnaro, KFVS 12. 21 September 2017.