Adilene Marquina was supposed to check in with an immigration officer Wednesday morning. But instead, her lawyer turned in a letter alerting immigration enforcement officials that she will be seeking sanctuary in a Glenwood church.
“Marquina is not a convicted criminal and does not present a threat to public safety,” her attorney, Juan Soliz, wrote in a letter presented to immigration officials on Wednesday. “We are hereby seeking humanitarian consideration in this matter.”
The Mexican immigrant was seven-months pregnant in May when an immigration judge denied her political asylum claim and asked her to leave the country. Marquina had a high-risk pregnancy.
At that time, she sought sanctuary in Faith, Life and Hope Mission church in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood to avoid deportation. A few days later, Marquina was granted a temporary stay, but she was asked to leave the country by Wednesday. She has opted to remain in the United States.
“I’m afraid for my children’s safety in Mexico. They have a better future here,” Marquina said.
Marquina, 34, started her political asylum claim in 2015. She said she couldn’t afford to keep paying extortion payments to a drug cartel in Mexico in order to keep her family business open. When the cartel cut off her ex-partner’s finger, she fled to Chicago. The woman has four children, including a 14-year-old son who is also seeking asylum. Her other three children — ages 16, 3, and three months — are American citizens.
Marquina said her oldest son has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and her 3-year-old son requires speech therapy. She said they’re both receiving medical attention in the U.S. that is limited in Mexico.
During her temporary stay, the Chicago Lawn church where she initially sought sanctuary was closed. Rev. Jose Landaverde said he was no longer able to afford the rent. He said Marquina will seek sanctuary in another church with whom his church often collaborated in south suburban Glenwood.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy, the agency doesn’t make arrests in places of worship, such as churches, synagogues, mosques and temples.