News & Media

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 12, 2018
Contact: Erin Williams – ewilliams@faithinaction.org
202-748-0699
After Nearly Three Months In Sanctuary, Peruvian Immigrant Gisella Collazo Granted One Year Stay of Removal
Springfield, Mass. – On Monday, June 11, Peruvian immigrant Gisella Collazo was granted a one-year stay of removal after having dwelled in sanctuary at South Congregational Church in Springfield for nearly three months. Collazo, a mother and wife who is married to a U.S. citizen, had been ordered to report for deportation in March and had been fitted with an ankle monitor prior to seeking sanctuary. Emily Rodriguez, an organizer with Pioneer Valley Project who has been heavily involved with Gisella’s case, issued the following statement:
“We are overjoyed by the news that our sister, Gisella Collazo, was able to leave sanctuary and be granted a one-year stay of deportation. Gisella’s story is an illustration of the best-case scenario, what should happen when one goes into sanctuary, but, for a mother who has no criminal record, holds a work permit, and is married to a U.S. citizen, should have never happened in the first place. Gisella has undergone a battle that no one should have to endure, including being separated from her family and facing the possibility of never being able to live with them again.
“But in the process, her story turned her into an advocate for immigrant rights and is an example of what can happen when justice prevails. Gisella’s case also demonstrated the capacity of a community to love and support their neighbor.
“Unfortunately, Gisella’s case also brought out a side of hate and detest from Mayor Domenic Sarno and his administration that tried to paint Gisella as someone who does not deserve protection. Through petitions, vigils, videos, and the media, we elevated Gisella’s story to a point where it could not be ignored, and made it clear that we would not stop speaking up for her and for the many people like her who are facing ICE’s injustice and cruelty.
“In celebrating Gisella’s stay of deportation, we also remember the case of Jorge Taborda who has been in sanctuary in Las Cruces, New Mexico for one year. The news of Gisella’s victory nourishes our hope that he too will be able to leave sanctuary soon, as we continue fighting for him to be reunited in safety and happiness with his family.”
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Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 45 local and state federations. For more information visit www.faithinaction.org.
Created in 2015, LA RED is a program of PICO National Network focused on immigrant rights, indigenous rights, education, and advocacy. LA RED is committed to the protection and security of immigrant communities through various means of resistance, including deportation defense, sanctuary advocacy and fighting for the rights of all immigrants including undocumented workers and families, DREAMers, and TPS holders.

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