Family of illegal immigrant in sanctuary offer words of encouragement to mother of three detained and facing possible deportation

MAPLEWOOD, MO - Two different families both in fear of their loved ones being deported. It comes at the heels of a wife and mother of three who was suddenly detained and could be sent back to Honduras.

Ilsa Guzman-Fajardo was arrested at the Robert A. Young Federal Building on Tuesday. Her attorney said Guzman-Fajardo is facing deportation after being in the U.S. illegally for years.

The family of Alex Garcia faces the same fate.

“Being separated from Alex is traumatizing for me, it’s traumatizing for my children,” said Carleen Garcia.

Garcia, also of Honduras has been living at the Christ Church UCC in Maplewood for the past year and a half. He too came to the country illegally nearly 14 years ago.

The church is a sanctuary where Garcia has been able to avoid deportation.

“If things were different and he was taken from us without being able to say goodbye I don’t think I would be able to do it,” said Mrs. Garcia as she cried.

“Unlike her (Guzman-Farjado) family, my family can still see Alex, her family didn’t even get to say goodbye.”

Reverend Rebecca Turner is one of many people who is providing support to the Garcias and their three young children. She also knows Ilsa personally.

“People who have been here many years and being very good members of the community, active in church and doing their job, paying taxes and following rules there ought to be some way for them to apply for citizenship and right now there is none,” Turner said.

While being able to see her husband even in hiding doesn’t make the situation any better Mrs. Garcia continues to hold on to faith and hope.

“These are humans these are people trying to live their lives,” she said. It’s something the couple encourages Guzman-Farjado and her family to do as well.

“Just stay strong,” said Mrs. Garcia, “gosh stay strong, pray and lean on your support systems.”

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