Facing down ICE in North Carolina
When agents came for Samuel Oliver-Bruno, 27 of his church friends stood in their way.
On November 23, Samuel Oliver-Bruno left CityWell United Methodist Church in Durham, North Carolina, for the first time since taking sanctuary there in December 2017. The Duke Divinity student and longtime U.S. resident, who returned to Mexico in 2011 to care for his father and came back to the United States in 2014 when his wife needed heart surgery, had requested a reprieve from his deportation order. As part of a review of that request, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services summoned him to its office for fingerprinting.
The summons was a trap. While standing in line at USCIS, Oliver-Bruno and his son, a U.S. citizen, were tackled by plainclothes Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who took Oliver-Bruno to an unmarked van out back.
There ICE had to contend with his church family. The van was surrounded by CityWell members, local pastors, and other supporters. They prayed, sang, and refused to move. Only after 27 more arrests could the van pull out.