27 church members singing 'Amazing Grace' arrested after blocking ICE van

27 church members singing 'Amazing Grace' arrested after blocking ICE van

More than 25 members of a methodist church in North Carolina were arrested Friday when they blocked an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) van with an immigrant inside and began signing “Amazing Grace.”

The CityWell United Methodist Church members of Durham, N.C., said they were prepared to be arrested for defending Samuel Oliver-Bruno, an undocumented immigrant who had been staying in the church basement for nearly a year.


Pastor Cleve May said he told police “We understand this is your job, but we need you to understand that as a matter of conviction we cannot move, and you will have to arrest us,” according to The Washington Post.

Twenty-seven were arrested in total following a three-hour standoff where congregants and community members attempted to physically block the van. Oliver-Bruno’s son Daniel Oliver-Perez, who is a U.S. citizen, was among those arrested for his role in the incident, according to the Post.

He faces charges of assaulting a government officer for trying to prevent the arrest of his father.

Oliver-Bruno was arrested while attending a routine visit to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in Morrisville, N.C. USCIS did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Post.

North Carolina Democratic Reps. David PriceDavid Eugene PriceGOP, Dems balk at latest Trump foreign aid cuts House pays tribute to Walter Jones Pelosi runs tight ship as more stormy waters await MORE and G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldGOP lawmaker draws backlash for telling Democratic colleague to 'shut up' during heated ObamaCare debate Hillicon Valley — Presented by NCTA — Meet the DNC's new chief security officer | FTC probes broadband providers' privacy practices | Dem net neutrality bill clears first hurdle Dem net neutrality bill clears first hurdle in House MORE issued a joint statement, saying they were alarmed by the incident.

“We are extremely alarmed by Samuel Oliver-Bruno’s abrupt arrest this morning by ICE agents at the USCIS office in Morrisville, N.C. Mr. Oliver-Bruno has lived in the United States for more than two decades and has spent the last year living in sanctuary in Durham.”

The lawmakers said “it appears ICE has acted in concert with officials at USCIS, who instructed Mr. Oliver-Bruno to appear at local USCIS offices to discuss his deferred deportation. He was then apprehended by plainclothes ICE agents upon entering the building.”

Butterfield and Price said it was a “catch-22” at best and that Oliver-Bruno was “entrapped” at worst.

Police arrested the demonstrators for obstruction and booked them into the Wake County Detention Center.