Two North Carolina congressmen ripped the Trump administration on Monday night after an undocumented immigrant who lived in a church for 11 months suffered a major setback in his bid to stay in the U.S.
G.K. Butterfield and David Price, both Democrats, announced that Samuel Oliver-Bruno’s petition for deferred deportation was denied.
“Mr. Oliver-Bruno’s case exemplifies the anti-immigrant agenda of the Trump administration,” the lawmakers said in a statement.
They noted that when the Mexican national appeared at an immigration office to provide fingerprints for his application to defer his deportation, “he was abruptly apprehended by ICE and shipped off to a detention facility to await a sham appeal.”
Oliver-Bruno had left the protection of the CityWell United Methodist Church in Durham to pursue the application when he was detained on Friday. Dozen of protesters who blocked the van carrying him away were also arrested.
“Mr. Oliver-Bruno — a decades-long resident of North Carolina with no significant criminal history and a loving family that includes his U.S. citizen son — was forced into hiding, taking sanctuary in a church to avoid being deported and leaving his sick wife without medical care,” the statement read.
Immigration officials have said the 47-year-old Oliver-Bruno has no legal basis to be in the country. It is not clear when he may be removed.
The two lawmakers are asking Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to reverse the order of removal.
A vigil for Oliver-Bruno will be held Tuesday night at the ICE office in Cary, N.C.
“This is orchestrated evil and cruelty and we will not be silent,” the advocacy group Alerta Migratoria NC said.