BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– Some illegal immigrants are receiving notices that they are being fined for failure to leave the U.S. Those who are seeking sanctuary in Colorado are among those being fined.
The Unitarian Church in Boulder is Ingrid Encalada la Torre’s sanctuary. It has also made her a sort of prisoner because she cannot leave.
She does get mail. A certified letter came from Immigration authorities in Washington, DC. The letter informed her she is being fined nearly $5,000 for failure to leave the country after being ordered.
“I feel it’s ridiculous that they are charging me this much… nothing, because they are giving me nothing,” she told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.
The Peruvian woman has spent more than two years in various churches, hoping that she is safe from deportation there.
With her two American-born boys, this Fourth of July was spent with at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Boulder.
“I know it’s Independence Day, but I don’t feel like that,” she said.
Not only her situation, but she said she was upset with how migrants are being treated at the U.S. border with Mexico.
Church members brought Ingrid and her children a meal to celebrate the holiday, that most American of foods to dine on: McDonald’s.
Barbara Cole and her husband Fred are longtime church members.
“This is a wonderful family and we love them dearly,” Barbara said.
Fred Cole expressed unhappiness at how undocumented immigrants are being treated now, “The situation that exists in this country today is just despicable.”
Ingrid and Jeannette Vizguerra, who is in sanctuary at another church, have started a web site called “No Mas “Chuecos. It urges others to be careful and not do like Ingrid did and get ahold of a stolen social security number. She pleaded guilty to a felony of criminal impersonation. She has said she did not realize the impact that would have on her immigration status.
CBS4’s Rick Sallinger asked her, “Do you have hopes you will be able to leave one day?”
“I am going to be able to leave from here…Me and my boys are going to be free,” she replied.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, has indicated such fines have been legal for years for those who will not leave when ordered. Those who have received the notices are hoping to fight in court.