Asheboro woman seeking refuge in Greensboro church still hopeful

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Juana Luz Tobar Ortega has been temporarily living inside St. Barnabas' Episcopal Church in Greensboro seeking sanctuary since May 31.

All of her family still lives in Randolph County but her eldest daughter, Leslie Molina, said that the church members make sure that Ortega is never alone.

“The church has been really helpful because they’re always here, someone keeping her company,” Molina said. “There's volunteers that can sign up and spend time with her during the day or at night.”

When asked how she passes the time in her temporary home, Ortega said she “keeps busy” putting her sewing skills to work making pillow, blankets and place mats. She has even learned to crochet.

Most of the fabric and supplies are from church members' donations.

To help supply other needs, the family has starting a fundraising page on and plans to set up an online site to sell her creations.

Though Ortega has support, she admits it’s tough not knowing how much longer she’ll have to stay there or what will happen next. Molina said they get several calls from people identifying themselves as ICE agents making sure that Juana is wearing her ankle monitor.

“She says it's really hard because she has to be here, closed doors, basically waiting for something to happen,” Molina said.

Despite the fear of the unknown, the Oretgas make it clear they are not giving up.

“People can call us rebels but this is our country too so we're going to fight and do whatever it takes,” Molina said.

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