A drama that began in September 2018, when Suyapa Reyes after loosing her asylum case took physical sanctuary at a church in Germantown, has finally been resolved. Suyapa Reyes and her four children will soon be able to leave the Philadelphia church without worry of deportation.
This Honduran family group left their country and entered the United States four years ago fleeing the violence.
Determined not to give up her intention to start a new life with better opportunities for her children, the single mother sought sanctuary in 2018 at First United Methodist Church of Germantown with help from the New Sanctuary Movement.
Reyes was not alone in her search for asylum. On the same day another family also looked for sanctuary at the same place. They are Oneita and Clive Thompson who came here from Jamaica 15 years ago, running from gang violence. They stlill remain at the church.
Reyes said that after she lost her asylum case back in 2018, she had to face visits from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. According to Reyes the officials made biweekly check-ins and threatened to separate her from her children.
Reyes said she came to the United States in 2014 with her two daughters to escape violence in Honduras. She then had two more children, who are US citizens.
Reyes expressed her satistfaction to reporters because, after waiting in sanctuary for this moment for a long time, 554 days exactly, she now has the opportunity to be free.
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The New Sanctuary Movement and her family is planning a “Walk to Freedom.” It’s scheduled for Thursday, March 12 at 5 p.m. Reyes, her family, and supporters will visit another nearby church to meet another family in sanctuary
Philadelphia and its sanctuary policies have been a national topic of debate.