Woman who lived in church three years goes home under Biden deportation freeze


An undocumented immigrant who lived above a Chicago church for more than three years to avoid being deported returned to her family’s home in a suburb of the city last weekend after President Biden issued a 100-day hold on certain deportations.

Francesca Lino took sanctuary in 2017 in an apartment above Adalberto United Methodist Church after a deportation order was issued against her, according to the Chicago Tribune. Lino, who is from Mexico, had reportedly been one of a group of immigrants the government knew was undocumented but under the Obama administration did not take steps to deport due to their lack of criminal records.

In 2017, however, the Trump administration began wider-reaching crackdowns, including a 2019 series of raids in major cities. Lino joined church leaders and local Democratic politicians in a July 2019 press conference to denounce the administration’s immigration policies, the Tribune noted.

Lino, speaking through a translator, said that she missed the birth of her grandson during the three-year period but is looking forward to spending the reprieve with her family.

“She said, ‘I’m so happy,’ and that she feels that she can walk out of here without fear, where that wasn’t like that a year ago,” said Emma Lozano, a pastor at the church. “And she says that now that she can go home — and it’s been a long time — where she feels free to go home and hug her children.”

Lozano also urged Biden to back and sign the American Right to Family Act, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), whose district is in the city. The measure would grant lawful temporary residency to parents of U.S. citizens who have lived in the U.S. for at least 10 years.

“When these hundred days runout, we will be ready to see the future of our people,” Lozano said.

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