Winston-Salem woman gains residential status after nearly 2-year fight to avoid deportation

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This video accompanied a Nov. 16, 2017, article on Minerva Garcia’s journey. 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Winston-Salem woman faced deportation, but after close to two years she was granted residential status, according to Rev. Julie Peeples of the Congregational United Church of Christ in Greensboro.

Peeples’ church granted Minerva Garcia and her sons sanctuary from June to October in 2017 to protect her from deportation and help keep her family together, but her fight to stay in the United States did not stop then.

On Thursday, an immigration judge in Charlotte granted Garcia residential status and Garcia now just has to wait for her green card.

Garcia, who has no criminal history, came to the United States 18 years ago on a Visa. She says she stayed illegally so her blind son, Eduardo, could have more opportunities. Eduardo is a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA. Her two youngest sons were born in the United States.

She was able to leave Peeples’ church and return to her home in the Triad in October 2017 after a judge ruled that her deportation order was vacated.

The next month, ICE ordered her to visit their office in Charlotte.

“I really don’t know what’s going to happen in there. I’m scared,” Garcia told FOX8 minutes before walking into the ICE office on Nov. 16, 2017.

Dozens of people showed up to support Garcia as she walked through the ICE doors. They erupted into cheers an hour later, when she emerged with her two youngest sons.

Inside the building, Garcia began the paperwork that would continue her immigration status back into court.

ICE agents released her, on the condition that she wear an ankle monitor. She was told to check in with officials every two months until her day in court.

Now, almost two years since she first took sanctuary at the Greensboro church, Garcia has residential status and is waiting on her green card.

Garcia previously said she wants to stay in the United States for the same reason she came here 18 years ago, to give her children better opportunities.

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