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>> Rosa Ines Gutierrez Lopez is a single mother of three from El Salvador, who has been living in the US for more than a decade.>> I came to this country because there was a group of people who threatened me in my country and I feared for my life.
>> But last month, Gutierrez Lopez was ordered back to her home country by US officials without her children, all born in the United States.>> I was sitting on the couch with them and I told them I had to go. They were making me go to my country and she told me, I want to go with you.
No. No, because the situation in my country is very delicate. There is a lot of violence, and if I take my daughter there her life could be at risk, just like mine.>> But with the help of this church, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist in Bethesda, Maryland, Gutierrez Lopez may have another chance.
>> The church offered her sanctuary, giving her an apartment to live in, while a pastor from her local church in Virginia cares for her children. She moved in on December 10th, the same day agents from the US Immigration Customs and Enforcement, known as ICE, ordered her to leave the US.
>> This congregation has entered into this process as an act of faith, and our primary concern is really to support Rosa and her children through this time.>> Like Gutierrez Lopez, dozens of migrants are now believed to be sheltering in places of worship around the country. US immigration authorities are not prohibited from detaining people in houses of worship.
But ICE has written a policy of arresting anyone at, quote, sensitive locations, including schools, hospitals and churches, accepting cases involving national security. Gutierrez Lopez said she was detained at the US Mexico border in 2005. After missing her court date, she began a new life as an undocumented immigrant in Virginia, where she found work at a restaurant and started a family.
She said she turned herself into authorities in 2014 and was issued deportation stays and work permits until last month.>> Under the Obama administration, I only went to report in every year and gave my name, my address and everything, and then I would go back the next year.
On the contrary, under Donald Trump's administration, I received an ankle bracelet, which was very frustrating for me.>> As Trump cracks down on illegal immigration, the church that took in Gutierrez Lopez hopes that others will follow their lead.