Guatemalan woman living in Virginia church faces $214K fine

Virginia News

Migrants from Guatemala rest near the altar at the El Calvario Methodist Church which is housing migrants who are seeking asylum after being released by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, June 3, 2019, in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Federal officials are threatening to issue a $214,000 fine against a Guatemalan woman who has been living in a Charlottesville, Virginia, church for nearly a year.

Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church agreed to help protect Maria Chavalan Sut from deportation by allowing her to live in the church. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have said they generally avoid entering sensitive locations such as places of worship.

Chavalan Sut has been seeking asylum since she was threatened and her home was burned in 2015. She took refuge in the church after ICE said she would be deported following a missed court date.

The Daily Progress reports that she received a “Notice of Intent to Fine” from ICE last week.

Lead pastor Rev. Isaac Collins called the letter a “scare tactic.”

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