When Ingrid Encalada Latorre’s husband, Eliseo Jurado, stopped by a Westminster Safeway on Thursday to pick up some items for his 9-year-old stepson, Bryant, and 2-year-old son, Anibal, she didn’t anticipate that six agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement would snatch him.
“This is an attack on me,” Encalada Latorre said through an interpreter inside the Boulder Unitarian Universalist Church, where she has taken sanctuary for less than a month to avoid deportation to her native Peru.
“We were texting at that very moment,” she said. “He sent me an alert message. I kept trying to call him and I didn’t hear anything for five minutes. Then, I got really scared. At that moment, I kept thinking, ‘I hope it’s not ICE.’”
Her fear was confirmed when her sister-in-law called her a short time later to say that Jurado had been picked up and detained.
“I hope that they will not deny him a bond,” she said.
‘ICE targets criminal aliens whenever and however they come to our attention’
ICE confirmed in an email that deportation officers with the agency’s enforcement and removal operation arrested Jurado — who it has identified as 30-year-old Eliseo Jurado-Fernandez — for immigration violations.
“By his own admission, Jurado-Fernandez illegally entered the United States in 2004,” the statement read. “He has a 2007 criminal conviction in Adams County, Colorado, for driving while ability impaired (DWAI), as well as three other misdemeanor criminal convictions. He remains in ICE custody pending disposition of his case before an Immigration Judge.”
Field Office Director Jeffrey Lynch said in statement that Jurado came to the agency’s attention during an investigation into Encalada Latorre but said his arrest has nothing to do with his wife taking sanctuary. He added that “Jurado-Fernandez has numerous criminal convictions, in addition to illegally entering the United States, which is also a crime.
“Contrary to misguided speculation, ICE did not target Jurado-Fernandez in retaliation for Encalada Latorre taking sanctuary from deportation in a Colorado church,” he said. “In accordance with its critical public safety mission, ICE targets criminal aliens whenever and however they come to our attention.”
Encalada Latorre taking sanctuary in third church
Encalada Latorre first claimed sanctuary in December 2016 at Mountain View Friends Meeting House in Denver but left after she acquired a court date in an effort to overturn a felony conviction for possessing falsified or stolen identity papers.
When a Jefferson County judge denied her request, she appealed to Gov. John Hickenlooper for a pardon, which was also denied. Encalada Latorre was scheduled for deportation to Peru in October, as her final stay of removal expired. Instead, she sought sanctuary in Foothills Unitarian Church in Fort Collins and presently at the UUCB in Boulder.
She is the first person to take sanctuary at the Boulder church when it declared itself a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants in late October after 90 percent of its congregation voted in favor of the move.
Her husband was born in Mexico and came to the United States illegally as a teenager. His father is a United States citizen, and his mother is a permanent resident. Jurado, Encalada Latorre said, had no arrest order and has had no criminal record in the eight years she has known him.
Both of the couple’s children are United States citizens.
Sanctuary numbers have doubled since 2016 election
The number of people claiming sanctuary in churches, temples and other houses of worship has doubled since the 2016 election, according to information from Church World Service, the national organizer for the modern sanctuary movement. This fall, Colorado became the state with the most people living in sanctuary — five statewide — to escape deportation. New Mexico and North Carolina are close behind, with four people living in sanctuary.
By claiming sanctuary in a church, temple or mosque, people seeking deportation are relying on an ICE policy for “sensitive locations” that prohibits enforcement action at places of worship, hospitals and schools, among other areas.
ICE has been ramping up enforcement since last year, when President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Jan. 25 on border security and immigration enforcement that broadened ICE’s enforcement priorities.
“It’s clear through the detention of one of our leaders today, Ravi Ragbir (in New York), and now Ingrid’s husband, that ICE is escalating the attack on the Sanctuary Movement which includes all of the faith communities involved,” said the Rev. Noel Andersen, of Church World Service, the D.C.-based national organizer for the sanctuary movement, via text message.
The original sanctuary movement started in the 1980s in Arizona, when churches began helping refugees from wars in Central America escape deportation, but quickly spread around the country. The current movement began during the Obama administration.
In 2016, the number of churches, temples and mosques around the country that declared themselves sanctuaries was about 400. The number doubled in the year after the presidential election, according to information from Church World Service.
‘It’s inhumane, it’s immoral and it’s cruel’
The congregation at UUCB and members of the public spent Thursday evening drawing up notarized letters of support for Jurado, and an online fundraising effort has been launched to help pay for his bond, should he be granted one.
Speaking to the congregation, Jeanette Vizguerra, of the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition, called the tactics employed by ICE and the Department of Homeland Security outright cruel, because the agencies are not just pursuing people in the immigration system, but also their families.
“We saw ICE following Eliseo to a store and going after him without any arrest order signed by a judge,” Vizguerra said. “It’s inhumane, it’s immoral and it’s cruel.”
Vizguerra said that Encalada Latorre, who wears an electronic monitoring bracelet, has been called repeatedly with claims that the bracelet isn’t functioning properly, and she has been asked to come to the office and have the bracelet checked.
“They know she is here in sanctuary,” she said. “Clearly what they did today is to put pressure on Ingrid so she will come out of the church.”
Encalada Latorre said that her husband is the breadwinner of the family, pays all the bills and provides the financial support. The worst part of the experience, however, was telling her children their father wouldn’t be coming home.
“He was just going to the store,” she said. “This is inhumane, that immigration is doing this. How can the children be held responsible for this? It really pains me what is happening. I hope to see him again. Soon.”
Donations can be sent to youcaring.com/eliseojurado-1066455.
This story originated on dailycamera.com.