Defying Deportation Order, Norwalk Mother Takes Refuge In New Haven Church

Jul 20, 2017

A mother of four who has lived in the U.S. for 24 years is refusing to abide by a deportation order to her native Guatemala and has taken sanctuary in a Connecticut church.

Nury Chavarria, of Norwalk, was supposed to board a plane on Thursday but instead has gone to the Iglesia De Dios Pentecostal Church in New Haven.

In a news conference outside the church, her youngest child, 9-year-old Hayley, said her mother is not a criminal and she loves her. She appealed to President Trump not to separate her family.

Chavarria’s children are all American citizens. Her oldest child, who is 21, has cerebral palsy.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy asked federal immigration authorities for a stay of deportation on humanitarian grounds, but that was denied.

Blumenthal said even though Chavarria has no criminal record, ICE refused her stay.

“Their reasoning for this decision is arbitrary and irrational: that she was given a deportation order decades ago and failed to properly contest it. But she was denied adequate legal services and they should recognize, she needs asylum.”

ICE had allowed her to stay in the U.S. under Obama-era immigration policy that aimed to deport felons, not families. But that policy has changed.

“My heart breaks for Nury and her four United States citizen children. It’s a family that will be torn apart, likely, due to the cold and callous decision by the Trump administration to remove all reason and rationality from its immigration enforcement priority.”

Chavarria checked in with ICE regularly. She worked as a housekeeper, paid taxes and supported her four children. 

She said in a recent interview that she was not sure who could become guardians of her children if she were to leave them in the U.S.