BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – An undocumented immigrant facing deportation has launched a campaign urging others not to use false identities. Ingrid Encalada, who came to the United States in 2000 seeking the American dream, spoke out on Sunday during a service at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder. She has been living at the church for 365 days.
The service also marked the one-year anniversary of Encalada’s stay within the walls of the church. Her refuge so far has helped her to avoid capture by immigration authorities that would lead to her deportation.
In 2003, the Peruvian immigrant bought a Social Security number on the street, Encalada told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
According to Gov. John Hickenlooper, the ID theft victim almost lost her government benefits because of the crime.
Hickenlooper denied Encalada’s request for a pardon in September 2017. At the launch of her campaign, she is now asking again for the leniency.
Church members gathered around Encalada in the sanctuary in support of her “No More Identity Theft” campaign. She dubbed the campaign’s Spanish version as “No Mas Chuecos.”
She is working to educate the immigrant community about the risks of buying false documents.
“The campaign ‘No More Identity Theft’ will help others not make the mistakes I made,” Encalada said, through an interpretor.
She said she used a false identity for seven years beginning in 2003 in order to work and support her two children, both who were born in the United States. According to Encalada, she did not know that the ID was stolen.
“Really, I had no idea that that number belonged to anyone, because often the people that you buy them from just make up the numbers,” Encalada said.
Advocates at Sunday’s campaign launch included State Rep. Jonathan Singer, a Democrat who represents Longmont.
“This is remarkable. You’ve got somebody here who’s saying, ‘I want to own my crimes and make people understand that identity theft hurts people,'” Singer said.