The agent gave her until the following Monday, just four business days, to sort out her affairs. Rivera prayed for a way to stay in the country so that her 9-year-old daughter — who had been born 30 weeks premature and had special needs — could continue receiving the care she needs. During an English lesson with a pastor’s wife later that week, Rivera learned about the New Mexico Comunidades en Acción y de Fé (CAFe), an immigrant rights advocacy group based in Las Cruces that hosts a hotline to help immigrants in imminent deportation proceedings. She called the number after the lesson, and CAFe organizers put her in contact with Holy Cross officials.
“I was at the office wrapping up some things, and I got a call on our migra watch hotline,” Johana Bencomo, a CAFe community organizer, told ThinkProgress. “It was Lorena telling me that she was set to report to ICE that Monday and that she was about to be deported. She told me she had an 8-year-old daughter. And we’ve been working with Father Tom all year on sanctuary. And immediately I knew to call him and ask. And immediately he said, ‘yes, she’s welcome.’”
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