An immigrant who sought refuge from expulsion in a North Colony church for 11 months was arrested Friday after arriving at a time of immigrant officials.
The Mexican citizen Samuel Oliver-Bruno, 47, was detained at an immigration office in the Raleigh area, according to a press release from the US Immigration and Customs Authority.
Alert Migratoria NC lawyer said in a statement that Oliver-Bruno went to get fingerprints taken so that he could apply to stay in North Carolina with his wife and son. He has lived in the CityWell United Methodist Church in Durham since the end of 2017 to avoid the reach of immigration officers, who generally avoid making arrests in churches and other sensitive places.
ICE said Oliver-Bruno, who lived in North Carolina for two decades, had no legal basis to be in the United States and had exhausted his “extensive” appeals. Oliver-Bruno accused in 2014 of using fake documents to try to reproduce the United States in Texas after a trip outside the country, according to court documents.
Several dozen protesters came to the federal immigration office in Morrisville hoping that deterrent authorities will not hold Oliver-Bruno. Local TV shows showed that some supporters were led in handcuffs by deputies after they apparently refused to spread. A sheriff’s spokesman did not respond immediately to an e-mail of further arrests.
Alerta Migratoria NC said that Oliver-Bruno had filed an application with US citizenship and immigration services trying to avoid expulsion. In a statement before his arrest, the group said he was asked to come in for a biometric screening as part of the application and he was aware of the risks: “In order to comply with this request, Samuel must leave the sanctuary and risk being detained.”  A USCIS spokesman did not respond immediately to a message asking what kind of application Oliver-Bruno had made to stay in the United States