An immigrant who sought refuge from deportation in a North Carolina church for 11 months was detained Friday at a scheduled appointment with immigration officials, prompting more than a dozen supporters to block a law enforcement van and wind up under arrest themselves.
Mexican national Samuel Oliver-Bruno, 47, was detained at a Raleigh-area immigration office, according to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement news release.
The advocacy group Alerta Migratoria NC said in a statement that Oliver-Bruno went to have fingerprints taken so he could apply to stay in North Carolina with his wife and son. He has been living in CityWell United Methodist Church in Durham since late 2017 to avoid the reach of immigration officers, who generally avoid making arrests at churches and other sensitive locations.
ICE said Oliver-Bruno, who has lived in North Carolina for two decades, had no legal basis to be in the U.S. and had exhausted his “extensive” appeals. Oliver-Bruno pleaded guilty in 2014 to using false documents to try to re-enter the U.S. in Texas after a trip outside the country, according to court documents.