DENVER (CBS4) – Supporters of a Mexican man in the custody of federal authorities demonstrated at a courthouse on Monday as a detention hearing was scheduled to take place.
They marched in silence and prayer. Following the scriptures, they conducted what they called a “Jericho walk” in hopes of bringing the ‘walls of detention tumbling down’, they said.
Their signs urged freedom for 30-year-old Eliseo Jurado Fernandez.
CBS4 first met his wife Ingrid Encalada LaTorre of Peru last year. She took sanctuary in a church to avoid deportation.
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Jennifer Piper, a member of the American Friends Service Committee said, “She knew when she entered sanctuary that there could be repercussions… that the government could choose to come into the church after her or after Eliseo.”
The Mexican native entered the country illegally when he was 14 years old. Now he was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement citing an earlier drunk driving arrest.
But demonstrators believe the sudden detention was to put pressure on his wife and the sanctuary movement.
Among those on hand was Jeannette Vizguerra who avoided imminent deportation last year after Senator Michael Bennet took action on her behalf.
“We are here because we know that ICE has increased the tactics of intimidation and trying to target to silence our families,” she told the demonstrators through an interpreter.
Immigration authorities have indicated they learned about Jurado Fernandez through the plight of his wife. The couple has two children.
“Her two year old is very confused asking for papi,” said Piper.
Jurado Fernandez is to remain in custody until his next detention hearing in February.
His wife remains in a Boulder Church unwilling to leave out of fear she will be removed from the country.
On Jan. 11, 2018, deportation officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operation arrested Eliseo Jurado-Fernandez, 30, from Mexico, for immigration violations. By his own admission, Jurado-Fernandez illegally entered the United States in 2004. 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.
Quote from ICE Field Office Director Jeffrey Lynch.
“ICE targeted Eliseo Jurado-Fernandez for arrest after he came to ICE’s attention during an investigation into his spouse, Ingrid Encalada Latorre, from Peru, who is also illegally present in the United States. 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. In accordance with its critical public safety mission. ICE targets criminal aliens whenever and however they come to our attention.”