Mother of 6 seeks sanctuary in a Chicago church to avoid deportation

(Chicago Tribune) Instead of turning herself over to immigration officials, Francisca Lino is taking sanctuary in the same Chicago church that protected immigration activist Elvira Arellano.

Lino, 50, a Bolingbrook resident and mother of six children — five of them U.S. citizens — was scheduled to meet with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials Wednesday. Instead, she held a West Side news conference at Adalberto United Methodist Church in Humboldt Park.

“I feel sad that I had to do this and defy the law to be with my children, but we’re going to keep fighting this case,” Lino said.

The small church was packed with about 50 supporters, including Arellano, who said she would “have her back.” Several people cheered “si se puede,” or “yes we can,” as Lino addressed reporters.

Her lawyer, Chris Bergin, said he showed up to Lino’s appointment and delivered a letter to immigration officials explaining that she had decided against self-deportation.

“I made it clear that she will not be hiding from the ICE officers but that she is asking instead for protection from her God,” Bergin said.

Though churches can’t guarantee protection, they are generally off limits to law enforcement raids. A 2011 memo from the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement instructed federal agents to avoid “sensitive locations” including hospitals, schools and houses of worship unless there is an imminent risk. [More]


Chicago Tribune