GREENSBORO - The day before she was ordered to leave the country, a Winston-Salem woman has entered protective sanctuary at Congregational United Church of Christ in Greensboro.
Facing deportation, Minerva Cisneros Garcia says she just wants to be with her family. The church says she's just the second undocumented immigrant to take sanctuary in North Carolina and the 10th currently in sanctuary in the U.S.
Minerva has a 21-year-old son, Eduardo, who is blind, and two younger sons, Antonio, 6, and Matteo, 3. She left Mexico 17 years ago, and moved to Winston-Salem illegally.
"My son is blind and he would not get an education there (in Mexico)," she explained. "We wanted a better future."
Her son, Eduardo, has since gained DACA status. Antonio and Matteo are U.S. citizens who will also stay in the church.
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In 2013, Minerva was granted a stay of removal by ICE due to needs of Eduardo, with the stay being re-granted every year since. At her annual check-in with ICE on May 25, she was ordered to leave the country by June 30.
Minerva has lived in Winston-Salem for 17 years.