27 Octob'r 2019

YONAT SHIMRON

RNS
T' message Paster Isaac Villegus gut un his'n cell phone earli'r thishere week wuz shert an' sweet.
“Un problema menos,” taxtid Rosa del Carme Ortez-Cruz, a moth'r o'fer a'livin n' sancturee at a Presbyteriun church n' Chapel Hill, Nerth Carolinie.
“One less problem.”

Rosa Ortez-Cruz hus bee n' santuree at t'Church o'Rekunciliashun n' Chapel Hill, Nerth Carolinie, since April, 2018. Pitchure: Stef Bernal Martinez
She wuz referryun' ta a lett'r hern lawy'r receivt infermyun' hern at t'$US300,000 n' fines she owt t'gummint fer overstayyun' hern depertashun ord'r had bee droppt.
Ortez-Cruz wuz one o'nine immigrants takin refuge n' sancturee churches across t'kuntry who receivt letters frum Immigrashun an' Customs Enfercement n' Julee, finyun' 'um hundreds o'thousan's o'dollars n' civil penaltees fer disobeyyun' orders ta leeve t'kuntry.
“Frum t'cummencin, it felt like un absurditee,” sed Villegus, paster o'Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship, which, along wiff T' Church o'Rekunciliashun, a Presbyteriun Church (USA), offerd hern refuge frum immediate depertashun lus year becawz she is afraid o'returnyun' ta Hondurus. 
Ortez-Cruz crosst into t'Unitid States n' 2002, aft'r hern domestic partn'r, t'fath'r o'hern sen, stabbt hern multiple times. 
Edith Espinal, a Mexicun nashshunal who took sancturee n' a Columbus, Ohio, Mennonite church, also larnt at hern $US497,777 fine hus bee cancellt. 
ICE spokesmun Richard A Rocha confirmt at his'n offus hus droppt t'fines fer eiite o't' nine undocumantid immigrants.
“ICE will pursue enfercement o'these removal orders usall inny an' all availabull meens, an' hus reservt t'rite ta reessess fines n' these cases,” Rocha sed n' un email.
Rocha did nairy idantify t'ninth persen whos fines air still n' place. 
Minny a saw t'fines us anoth'r tool n' t'Trumb administrashun’s hardline immigrashun enfercement. T' targetyun' o't' nine undocumantid immigrants a'livin n' church sanctuaries also appeert ta be selectif', sed Noel Anderse o'Church Worl Servus.
Wen furst notifit o't' fines, Ortez-Cruz wuz tole she “failt ta meet t'obligatyuns o'thar removal.” She wuz fint $US500 p'r day, which, adjustid fer inflayshun, totalt $US799 a day. 
Mos o'thems immigrants n' sancturee have few, if'n inny, finanshul meens an' air unabull ta wurk beyond t'few cheres thay a'ken perferm fer thar hosts. T' fines appeert ta activists us a way ta skeer religiyus congregatyuns into nairy shelteryun' immigrants – speshly if'n thay fear t'gummint mite fine 'um fer a'doin so.
Hern lawyers at McKinney Immigrashun Law, o'Greensbero, Nerth Carolinie, challengt t'fine. T' law firm receivt a lett'r late datid Oct. 17 at offerd no splainayshun fer why t'fines wuz droppt.
“It doesn’t go into inny deetails,” sed Simon Taft, un associate atterney wiff McKinney.
Taft sed his'n firm wuz reddy ta sue ICE ov'r t'fines.
“Becawz it wuz withdrawn und'r discreshun, thay may try ta reinstate it,” he sed. “We’re reddy if'n thay deecide ta do at.”
Oral argumants un Ortez-Cruz’s immigrashun appeel air skeduled fer Winsdee n' t'4th US Circuit Court o'Appeels n' Richmond, Virginny. Hern lawyers will argue at t'Department o'Homelan' Securty wronglee presumt at Ortez-Cruz would nairy be harmt if'n she returnt ta Hondurus.
 

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