DENVER (CBS4)– A mother has taken sanctuary in a Denver church hoping to avoid being deported back to her home country of Peru.
Ingrid Encalada Latorre moved to Colorado back in 2000, but for the past 11 days she’s taken sanctuary in Denver’s Mountain View Friends Meeting, a Quaker congregation, to avoid deportation.
“It’s been my dream to come to this country ever since I was little,” Latorre said. “In 2002 I purchased papers on the street in order to work and be able sustain myself.”
In 2010, Latorre says Denver police arrested her for identity theft. The mother of two says she pleaded guilty to a felony without understanding how it would affect her immigration status.
This summer, Latorre says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ordered her to leave the country.
“What I’ve asked for is a stay of deportation to be able to complete this process of reopening my criminal case, and possibly later my immigration case,” Latorre said.
American Friends Service Committee, an interfaith organization, has stepped in to help her fight her case.
“All of her family here has status, and that’s the system we have. It’s broken,” said Jennifer Piper, a leader in the group. “It rips people out of our communities and our families who really belong here.”
Members of the congregation say they welcomed Latorre with open arms.
“When we welcomed her it was just a beautiful moment,” said congregation member David Poundstone. “We’ve been preparing for this for several weeks and just waiting for her to make the decision to come.”
As Latorre waits to learn her fate, members say offering her sanctuary has opened their eyes.
“Together we learn, and together we grow,” Piper said.