Woman Taking Sanctuary in Boulder Joins Call for Action on Immigration, Path to Legal Residency

Ingrid Encalada Latorre stood in the rain outside the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder on Thursday. It’s been her home for several months after she took sanctuary to avoid being deported.

“I pleaded guilty to a felony in 2010, as you all know, without knowing the immigration consequences of the plea,” she said. “That is what is continuing to jeopardize my future with my family in this country.”

The crime to which she referred involved using false documents, so she could work. But when she took a plea, she didn’t know it could mean being sent back to Peru, her native country, but one she left as a child.

Encalada Latorre has exhausted all legal options to stay in the United States, so she has no recourse left but to take sanctuary in the church with her two young children, both United States citizens.

She wants to change what she sees as “double jeopardy” when it comes to the United States immigration laws.

“The laws we have in this country punish immigrants,” she said. “They punish us for working and then they punish us again with deportation.”

Encalada Latorre joined a small group outside of the church at noon on Thursday to walk seven laps around the parking lot while bearing two large banners bearing the words “Keep Families Together.”

The “Jericho Walk” is inspired by the Battle of Jericho in the Old Testament and coincided with a national effort to show solidarity with 40 people who have taken sanctuary in 15 states to resist what they see as unjust deportation orders.

The American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization deeply involved in the Colorado sanctuary movement, made available on its website a “people’s resolution” stating that ICE is focusing its “extensive resources on the State of Colorado with the second highest deportation rate in the country.”

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