Guatemalan immigrant, mother of 3, seeks sanctuary in Manhattan church

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WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan — Dulce Carvajal, 9, her eight-year-old sister, Daniela, and two-year-old brother, David, are all U.S. citizens living in one room in the back of Holy Rood Church.

They are there because their mother, 33-year-old Amanda Morales, is a Guatemalan who entered this country illegally in 2004 and is now facing deportation.

"I was scared because I don't want them to deport her because she is my mom and I will always love her," Dulce Carvajal, her daughter, told PIX11.

A group of politicians and community leaders rallied on Morales' behalf as they prepare to go to 26 Federal Plaza on Monday to request a stay of removal from ICE officials.

"As a father of two daughters, I could never be disconnected with my children," Ydanis Rodriguez, a NYC Councilmember told PIX11. "So we will be standing shoulder to shoulder to make sure she stays in our nation."

PIX11 consulted with well known immigration lawyer Michael Wildes.

"This stay has got to be emotionally impactful to show that if she is removed, they are effectively deporting her three children," Wildes told PIX11.

As donated food and furniture arrived, Amanda Morales is worried about her future, but grateful for the support.

Through an interpreter, Amanda Morales said "God Bless every New Yorker who is helping me and helping me find an immigration lawyer," she says, fighting back tears.

A spokeswoman for the U. S. immigration and Customs Enforcement released this statement:

"Amanda Morales Guerra, a national and citizen of Guatemala, was encountered by Border Patrol in Falcon Heights, Texas March 9, 2004, and was released on her own recognizance. In July 2004, Morales Guerra was issued a final order of removal. She was arrested by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers in October 2012, and in an exercise of discretion, was released on an order of supervision to allow her to remain free from custody while finalizing travel arrangements to return to Guatemala. On August 17, 2017, Guerra was supposed to report to ICE, but she did not report as required. She is now considered an ICE fugitive."

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