The deportation order against Honduran immigrant Angela Navarro was lifted Wednesday by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
Navarro, 28, had spent two months taking refuge in a West Kensington church protesting U.S. immigration laws and her deportation.
“I didn’t think that it would happen so quickly, but I’m just so happy right now,” said Navarro through a Spanish language translator. The New Sanctuary Movement, who translated Navarro, had supported her as she sought sanctuary from federal immigration authorities.
“My life has changed totally,” Navarro said. “I’m not afraid anymore. I’m free. I can go to my mom’s house where I’ve been afraid to go before because of the ICE raids. This is a complete change in my life.”
Navarro’s attorney Patricia Luber received a call from ICE Wednesday night saying the deportation order against Navarro would not be enforced for at least two years. During this time, Luber will file more legal papers to secure US citizenship for Navarro.
“We’ll take victories any way we can get them. It’s definitely the first step for us as far as reopening her deportation case,” Luber said. “Now we can do that with the assurance that while that’s pending, her deportation order won’t be enforced.”
Navarro, who immigrated to the US from Honduras in 2004, believes she will eventually attain her goal of US citizenship.
“This is an important start and I think everything will work out,” she said.
ICE confirmed that Navarro’s deportation order was stayed after “comprehensive review.”
“ICE exercises discretion on a case by case basis, as necessary to focus resources on our stated priorities,” the ICE Philadelphia office said in a statement confirming Navarro’s deportation would be stayed. “ICE’s enforcement efforts are focused on national security threats, convicted felons, gang members, and illegal entrants apprehended at the border.”
While President Obama’s recent executive order on immigration would apply to Navarro, who is married to a US citizen, has lived in the US for 10 years and has no criminal background, legal provisions of the order do not take effect until later this year.
Luber believes the executive order will strengthen her case as it takes effect.
On Saturday, Navarro will officially leave sanctuary at West Kensington Ministry.